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Northern White Rhino Death In Czech Zoo Brings Species Count Down To Four

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And then there were four. The current count brings the Northern white rhinos that much closer to being totally wiped out from the planet.

Czech Republic's Zoo Dvůr Králové announced the death of Northern white rhino Nabiré, one of the remaining five of the species in the world, on July 27. The demise of the white rhino was halfway between being a bad and a good thing.

While her death brings the species closer to extinction, it ended her suffering too. The cause of Nabiré's death was a pathological cyst that couldn't be taken out and eventually ruptured inside the rhino's body.

"The pathological cyst inside the body of Nabiré was huge. There was no way to treat it," said the zoo's rhino curator Jiří Hrubý. At 31 years old, Nabiré died in the Czech zoo, where she was also born.

In 1975, two male and four female Northern white rhinos were brought from Sudan to the zoo where they started to breed. Two of those six white rhinos are still alive and are now among the only four left in the whole world; the other two being the female Nola, which is in San Diego, and another male, Sudan, which is in Ol Pejeta, Kenya.

The female Nabiré, however, was never able to reproduce.

After Nabiré died, the Czech zoo took out her healthy left ovary, in an effort to try to save what was left of the species. Zoo Dvůr Králové wants to generate embryos of the Northern white rhino, which they can transfer to a southern white rhino that will act as a surrogate.

Breeding through a closely related species, however, still has a long way to go before it can be made possible, as scientists say no IVF procedures have been developed for rhinos yet.

The Czech zoo mourns over Nabiré's untimely demise. Přemysl Rabas, director of Zoo Dvůr Králové. Rabas added that Nabiré was the kindest white rhino among those that were bred at the zoo, and emphasized: "Her death is a symbol of the catastrophic decline of rhinos due to a senseless human greed."

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