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North Carolina Zoo’s beloved rhino Stanley dies at 49

Stanley the rhino (NC Zoo)

ASHEBORO, N.C. — Staff at the North Carolina Zoo are mourning the loss of a beloved rhinoceros.

Stanley, a southern white rhinoceros that lived at the North Carolina Zoo for more than 30 years, passed away on Friday, the zoo said in a news release.

Fondly known as “Stan,” the 49-year-old rhino had lived at the North Carolina Zoo since 1987. He was born in 1970 at the Umfolozi Park in South Africa.

As one of the oldest male rhinos in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Stan served as an ambassador for the plight of rhinos in the wild whose populations are threatened by poaching and habitat loss, the zoo said.

“Male rhinos in the wild live into their early 30s and into their early 40s under human care. The fact that Stan lived to his late 40s is a testament to the etraordinary care he received through the years,” the release said.

Stan started experiencing symptoms of neurological disease including seizure-like activity from a suspected stroke in mid-January, which severely diminished his quality of life at his advanced age. The difficult decision to humanely euthanize Stan was made after the sudden decline in his health this week. A necropsy will be performed in an attempt to determine the exact cause of his neurological disease.

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