GUWAHATI: A 50-year-old two-horned white African rhino brought to India from the US in 1974 died of old age at the Assam state zoo on Tuesday night.
The rhino, named Mohan, was the only two-horned African white rhino amid 2,500 Indian rhinos in Assam.
The zoo officials said Mohan, who died of old-age related digestive complications, was a fighter.
"They said the normal lifespan of an African rhino is around 45 years. Mohan exceeded his lifespan," Tejas Mariswamy, the zoo’s divisional forest officer (DFO), told the New Indian Express.
“He was brought from the US in 1974. There was no African rhino in India then,” the forest officer said.
He was forbidden from mating with other rhinos as he was a two-horned Rhino in a jungle of one horned rhinos.
“They are two different species – one is a one-horned rhino while the other is two-horned. If they mate, it will be like an experiment to create a new individual, which is not allowed,” Mariswamy said.
Mohan survived the life-threatening Johne’s disease – an intestinal complication usually prevalent among bovine creatures – in 2005. While he was young, he would often charge at the walls and grilles of his enclosure, a behavior the zoo vets attributed to frustration because of his inability to mate.