Ailing San Diego Zoo Safari Park rhino improved; calf gets companion

San Diego Zoo Safari Park rhino news: Angalifu is gone, but Nola and Chutti are doing well ... Chuck, too

There's good news on the rhinoceros front at San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

While the death from cancer last month of Angalifu, the park's 44-year-old male northern white rhino, leaving only five of his species in the world, was undoubtedly a downer for rhino fans, two events this week should buoy spirits.

Nola, a 40-year-old female northern white rhino, has been deemed well enough to return to the habitat she shares with Cape buffalo and other species.

On Dec. 27, keepers noticed Nola was not eating or moving around much, plus she had a very runny nose. She preferred to stay in her heated enclosure, out of view of visitors.

Keepers determined that Nola was suffering from a sinus infection, and after days of care, including antiobiotics and blood tests, she was again well enough to return to the exhibit, where Chuck, 45, a male southern white rhino, was waiting. The two are companions, though not mates.

Also this week, a 6-week-old greater one-horned rhino named Chutti appeared to be bonding well with an 8-month-old Ankole calf named Moo Moo Kitty. Ankoles are domestic cattle native to Africa.

Soon after Chutti was born on Nov. 27, keepers concluded that his mother was not producing enough milk. So a decision was made to bottle-feed him with horse's milk.

For companionship, keepers also introduced Chutti to Moo Moo Kitty. If all goes well, the two will probably stay together for another year or so until Chutti is weaned.

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