Nola (rhinoceros)

Last updated
Northern White Rhino.jpg
Species Northern white rhinoceros
BornAugust 21, 1974
Shambe area of Southern Sudan
DiedNovember 22, 2015 (aged 41)
San Diego Safari Park, Escondido, California
Known forLast northern white rhinoceros in America. [1]

Nola (August 21, 1974 – November 22, 2015) was a northern white rhinoceros who lived at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park near Escondido, California. At her death, she was one of only four of her subspecies overall. She was outlived by male Sudan and females Najin and Fatu.



Nola was wild caught in the Shambe area, which is located "in the southern savanna woodlands of Sudan. She was rescued from the violent poaching that is prevalent in that region when she was only a few years old." [2] Her age upon capture has been estimated more closely at being 18 months old. [3] She belonged to the Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic, but since 1989 she had been on loan in San Diego. [4] [5] [6]

San Diego Zoo

Nola lived at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s South Africa field habitat. She was in the same enclosure as her counterpart Angalifu, but he was moved to the Central Africa field habitat at the zoo before his death on December 14, 2014. Nola's lead keeper at the zoo was Jane Kennedy. [7] While at the zoo, Nola had been described by PBS as "independent and aggressive". [8]

A photographer who shot photos of Nola numerous times said, "As any rhino might, Nola enjoys her daily belly scratches and neck rubs, carrots, and the occasional bucket of apples. She spends her days indulging in the warm Southern California weather sunbathing." She shared her enclosure with other African animals, including Cape Buffalo, giraffes and gazelles. [9] Irv Erdos, a writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune , endorsed the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy's mission to bring animals back from the brink of extinction, specifically mentioning Nola. Erdos said he has visited Nola "at least a dozen times." [10]


In 1996, Nola refused advances by Angalifu, a male northern white rhino at the San Diego Zoo that staff hoped would mate. Nola was given hormones to make her more receptive to Angalifu's advances. After her food was mixed with prostaglandin, followed by a two-week daily dose of oral progesterone, Nola became receptive to Angalifu's advances and the two mated for 20-30 minutes the first time. Following that mating, the two continued to copulate, but no pregnancy resulted from the pairing. [11]

Nola was too old to be bred at that point, and as of 2014 was considered "elderly". [12] In 2015 she suffered from recurring abscesses on one hip. [13] [14]


Nola had been under veterinary care for a bacterial infection, as well as age-related health issues. After her health rapidly declined over the previous day, her caretakers had her euthanized on November 22, 2015. [15]

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  1. Relations, Public (21 Oct 2014). "San Diego Zoo Safari Park Home to 2 of 6 Remaining Northern White Rhinoceroses". San Diego Zoo. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  2. MacKenzie, Kathy (30 Mar 2014). "Only 7 Northern White Rhinos remain on planet earth!". Feather and Fur Photography. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  3. Rookmaaker, L.C. (1998). The Rhinoceros in Captivity: A List of 2439 Rhinoceroses Kept from Roman Times to 1994. Kugler Publications. p. 271. ISBN   9789051031348 . Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  4. "Last Chance to Survive: Northern White Rhino Conservation Project" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 3, 2012.
  5. "Severní bílí nosorožci v zajetí".
  6. "Samice nosorožce bílého Nola je nemocná. Patří k posledním zvířatům svého druhu".
  7. Kennedy, Jane (2 Jun 2014). "An Extra Treat for Nola". San Diego Zoo. Archived from the original on 4 June 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  8. "Animal Attractions: Amazing Tales from the San Diego Zoo". PBS. Feb 2000. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  9. "Only 7 Northern White Rhinos remain on planet earth!". Fur and Feather Photography. 30 Mar 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  10. Erdos, Irv (29 Oct 2014). "Letter gets him thinking about rhinos and his relatives". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 4 Dec 2014.
  11. Kellan, Ann (2 Mar 1996). "Breeding rhinos: Not an easy chore". CNN. Retrieved 4 Dec 2014.
  12. Waters, Rob (9 Jun 2010). "Animal Cloning: The Next Phase". Business Week. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  13. Perry, Tony. "Veterinarians concerned about northern white rhino at San Diego Safari Park".
  14. Perry, Tony. "Safari Park veterinarians puzzled as to what ails endangered northern white rhino".
  15. "Nola, one of four remaining white rhinos in the world, dies", from Reuters, via The Independent