On 20 January 2017, a 49-year-old white rhino named Alfred took his last breath. A resident of the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, Va., he was euthanized after a long struggle with arthritis and other age-related ailments. The decision was not made lightly; several parties—from vet staff to keepers to curators—had met and been discussing his declining health.
“We started to see signs of him moving slower in October , shifting on and off exhibits more slowly, as well as a decrease in his activity level,” said Jennifer McNamara, the Zoo’s lead Africa keeper.
That same month, vets conducted a procedure—complete with anesthesia—to get a closer look. Although a definitive diagnosis wasn’t reached, it seemed that one of Alfred’s hind legs was giving him the most trouble.
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White Rhino © Virginia Zoo
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