Zoo Mourning Rhino Calf Loss

The Rolling Hills Zoo family is mourning the loss of one of their newest members.

According to the zoo, they are grief-stricken over the loss of Augustus (Gus), the southern white rhino born at the zoo on December 9, 2021.

Known for his playful behavior, Gus began exhibiting neurological-type symptoms on Thursday, which stayed consistent over the next few days.  Despite the zoo veterinary staff’s extensive efforts to determine the cause of the symptoms along with help from veterinarians and rhino experts across the country and around the world, the answers they searched for did not come.

Sadly, by Sunday morning the calf’s quality of life had decreased to the point that the exceedingly hard decision was made to humanely euthanize him.

“It all happened so fast, but I am certain our animal care team and veterinary staff did absolutely everything they could.  At this point our staff is heartbroken,” shared Ryan VanZant, RHZ Executive Director.  “While it is so soul-fulfilling working with and on behalf of these amazing animals, it is soul crushing when they leave us.”

At this time there is no concern for the health of Gus’ mother, Evey.  The remains have been sent to Kansas State School of Veterinary Medicine for a necropsy with hopes that out of tragedy something can be learned that will help rhino populations in the future.

Friends of Rolling Hills Zoo can make a donation in Gus’ honor to the International Rhino Foundation at https://rhinos.org/.