Black Rhino Update

Black Rhino Update


On May 30th, the Zoo’s female Black Rhino, Gemstone, died due to age related factors. Gemstone was born on July 2, 1989, and was just a month short of her 35th Birthday. The San Francisco Zoo owned her, and she came to the Baton Rouge Zoo in 2006 as a breeding loan transfer from the Center for Conservation of Tropical Ungulates in Peace River Florida.

Over her lifetime, Gemstone gave birth to several rhino calves. One being born right here at the Baton Rouge Zoo in 2009 – her name is Zuri and she now lives at the Cincinnati Zoo. Zuri will continue Gemstones genetic legacy through her own offspring.

Baton Rouge Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Sean Perry said, “According to the AZA (Association of Zoos & Aquariums) life expectancy statistics, the average median life expectancy for an Eastern Black Rhinoceros is 19 years. Gemstone lived a long & healthy life largely due to the professional care and attention given by the Baton Rouge Zoo animal care and veterinary team.”

Recently, Gemstone had experienced some common health issues related to age and her species, including an abscess on her right rear foot that required additional attention, including numerous medications, hydrotherapy, and laser therapy to help. After consulting with several veterinary experts who are experts in rhino medicine and care, it was determined that everything that could possibly be done to help with the healing was being properly handled by the Zoo animal care and veterinary staff. A plan was developed to humanely euthanize her if her quality of life further declined, however on the morning of May 30th, animal care staff arrived at the Zoo to begin their rounds and it was discovered that Gemstone had passed away during the night.

A necropsy was performed at LSU’s Veterinary Hospital and detailed formal results are pending.

The Animal technicians have been impacted by the loss of Gemstone. She was a favorite for those that worked closely with her on a daily basis. She will be sorely missed by the zoo staff and our guests who participated in Breakfast with the Animals feeding experiences with her over the years.

About BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo
BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo is a place where people connect with animals, including tigers, giraffes, rhinos, otters and alligators. The world-class Sapo Springs, Realm of the Tiger, Flamingo Cove, Giants of the Islands, Safari Playground, L'aquarium de Louisiane, & KidsZoo exhibits offer fun and education for all ages.