Monarto Zoo is mourning the loss of our 18-month-old Southern White Rhino Tundu, who tragically passed away yesterday.
Preliminary results indicate Tundu experienced significant internal blood loss, most likely from a traumatic injury, possibly caused by some incident involving the other rhinos.
Zoos SA Veterinarian Dr Dave McLelland said the veterinary team would await the results of laboratory tests for a complete understanding of what led to her death.
“Preliminary results show that Tundu had some bruising over her ribs,” Dr McLelland said.
“She also had a massive haemorrhage from her diaphragm into the chest cavity.
“One possible scenario is that Tundu may have been wedged between two older rhinos during rough play, which led to her sustaining these injuries.
“Our White Rhino crash gets along really well; we never see any significant aggression within this group. It was probably more a case of Tundu being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“Importantly, there is nothing to suggest any infection or other disease that would cause us concern for our other rhinos.
“We expect to receive the full pathology results early next week.
“Our rhino keepers and veterinary staff care deeply for all the animals that call Monarto Zoo home, so this is a huge and unexpected shock, and we’re all incredibly sad.
“Our focus now is on supporting Tundu’s mum, Umquali, and our dedicated keeping staff through this sad time.”
As a conservation charity that exists to save species from extinction, this is a heartbreaking loss but we remain committed to ensuring the future of this near-threatened species by providing them with a safe haven and running successful breeding programs on site.
We are proud to have bred five Southern White Rhinos at Monarto Zoo, as well as working with The Australian Rhino Project to relocate up to 30 threatened Southern White Rhinos to Monarto Zoo where they will be protected from poaching.