Rhino at BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo passes away

Gemstone, the zoo’s female black rhino, died due to age-related factors.
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 2:50 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Officials with BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo announced the death of Gemstone, the zoo’s female black rhino.

The rhino died on Tuesday, May 30, as a result of issues related to old age.

Zoo officials said Gemstone’s death came just one month short of her 35th birthday.

“According to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ life expectancy statistics, the average median life expectancy for an eastern black rhinoceros is 19 years,” said Dr. Sean Perry, a veterinarian with BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo. “Gemstone lived a long and healthy life largely due to the professional care and attention given by the Baton Rouge Zoo animal care and veterinary team.”

Zoo officials said that Gemstone had recent health issues related to age and her species. The health issues included an abscess on her right foot that required medications, laser therapy, and hydrotherapy.

Staff at BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo consulted with experts and determined that everything had been done to help Gemstone heal. As a result, plans were made to humanely euthanize Gemstone if her quality of life further declined.

Staff arrived at the zoo on the morning of Tuesday, May 30, and found that Gemstone had passed away during the night.

The LSU Veterinary Hospital performed a necropsy. Detailed formal results are pending.

Gemstone arrived at BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo in 2006 as a breeding loan transfer from the Center for Conservation of Tropical Ungulates in Florida.

Zoo officials said that Gemstone gave birth to several rhino calves during her lifetime. One of them was born at BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo and now lives at the Cincinnati Zoo.

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