WACO, Texas – Cameron Park Zoo is sad to announce the death of Babe, the Southern White rhino, who passed away in her sleep on Tuesday, due to age-related complications.
Animal care and veterinary staff responded to help Babe when she had difficulty standing, when she was called into the night house last Friday afternoon. She was kept inside and received fluids and medications to help with pain and inflammation over the weekend, then passed away peacefully during her sleep at around midnight Tuesday morning.
The Zoo says that in captivity, rhinos can live up to 40-45 years – with a median life expectancy of 31.4 years. Babe was well past the average life expectancy. She celebrated her 49th birthday on October 25, making her the third oldest Southern White rhino in AZA-accredited zoos.
As veterinary care and animal husbandry advances, geriatric care is becoming an increasing emphasis at AZA-accredited zoos. It is especially important at Cameron Park Zoo, because many of the animals have been at the zoo since 1993 – or shortly afterwards – and are approaching the end of their lifespans. The animal care staff members are especially bonded with these “senior citizens,” and special care is taken with these aging animals to help keep them as healthy and comfortable as possible as they age.
Babe arrived at Cameron Park Zoo in 1996, from the Baton Rouge Zoo. The Zoo says she had a very sweet and easy-going personality, and that she loved interacting with her keepers and stopped every morning on her way to her exhibit to get a good rubdown.
As part of her individual care, Babe had special temperature requirements. She was given supplements and medications for age-related mobility issues, and received hydrating hay which was fluffed for her.
The Zoo says Babe’s keepers and all the staff are grieving, but are comforted in knowing she was given the best of care.
Source: Cameron Park Zoo