The Milwaukee County Zoo euthanized one of its southern black rhinos, Brewster, March 19 due to a health condition, according to a post on the zoo's website.
Brewster was estimated to be 33 years old and lived at the zoo on exhibit with companion rhino, Mimi. During his time at the zoo, he sired three surviving calves, according to the post.
The rhino abruptly stopped eating and showed signs of colic — abdominal distress — for about a week. He was treated and monitored by veterinarians and keepers, according to the zoo.
Despite treatment, he showed no signs of improvement and the difficult decision was made for him to be euthanized, according to the zoo. An autopsy revealed a hay impaction of the colon due to age-related dental disease. The zoo's medical staff had treated Brewster for dental issues for the past several years, according to the zoo.
The rhino was one of two southern black rhinos brought to the local zoo from Zimbabwe in 1989. The transport of both rhinos was funded by a donation from employees of the Miller Brewing Company, through the Zoological Society of Milwaukee. Brewster and Barley — a female — were two of 10 rhinos from Zimbabwe that were distributed to conservation centers at five locations in the United States. Barley died in 2005.
The southern black rhino is on the verge of extinction due to poaching fueled by commercial demand for rhino horn, according to the zoo.