Black rhino dies at Oklahoma City Zoo

Marsha, a 32-year-old black rhinoceros, died Sunday during a medical examination at the Oklahoma City Zoo after she had fallen ill.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Published: January 20, 2014

A rhino at the Oklahoma City Zoo died Sunday during a medical examination.

Marsha, a 32-year-old female black rhinoceros, had been suffering from lethargy and a decreased appetite, zoo spokeswoman Tara Henson said. Marsha was given supportive care, including fluids, pain medication and antibiotics, to help keep her comfortable during the exam.

“Our caretakers know their animals and, in Marsha's case, their keen observations helped us identify there was a problem early on,” said Laura Bottaro, animal curator. “The Veterinary and Animal team's goal was to keep Marsha as comfortable as possible.”

A necropsy is being conducted.

Marsha came to the zoo in September 1999 from the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. She was born at the San Antonio Zoo. During her time at the zoo, Marsha was recommended to breed as part of the Black Rhino Species Survival Plan managed through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, but she never had any offspring.

Marsha lived in the zoo's pachyderm habitat with fellow black rhino Rudisha “Rudy,” and Indian rhinoceroses Niki and Chandra.

Marsha was known for being an avid painter. Paintings she created using her head are sold to support conservation.

Black rhinos are critically endangered because of poaching.