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Aging rhino at San Diego Zoo Safari Park treated for unidentified sickness

Aging rhino at San Diego Zoo Safari Park treated for unidentified sickness
Nola, a 40-year-old northern white rhino at the San Diego Zoom Safari Park, examined by associate veterinarian Meredith Clancy and keepers Kim Millspaugh and Mike Veale. (Ken Bohn / San Diego Zoo Safari Park)

A northern white rhino at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park was examined Monday to identify the sickness that has led to her reduced appetite and activity level, and a runny nose.

Nola, 40, is one of five northern white rhinos left in the world after decades of poaching in their native Africa. Of the other four, three are in a preserve in Kenya, one in a zoo in the Czech Republic.

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For years, the Safari Park had two northern white rhinos but Angalifu, 44, a male, died Dec. 14.

Like Angalifu, Nola is considered geriatric and has been treated for arthritis.

On Monday, associate veterinarian Meredith Clancy took a swap of Nola's nostrils to collect mucus samples. Nola had been placed under round-the-clock care Saturday after keepers noticed the reduced appetite and activity level and a thick nasal discharge.

Nola was given an injection of antibiotics to fight any infection. Veterinarians are awaiting the results of the mucus swab and a blood test to determine what further treatment is needed.

Nola has been taken into a heated enclosure inside the Asian Plains field exhibit.

"One of our main concerns is Nola's comfort level," said Clancy. "We will continue to monitor her round the clock and hope her health improves."

Initial reports are hopeful, Safari Park officials said, with Nola eating again and regaining some mobility.

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