Northern White Rhino Reunites With Pals at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The 40-year-old rhino was previously being treated for a sinus infection.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

A critically endangered white rhino who has been receiving care from zookeepers was reunited with her companion Thursday.

Nola, a 40-year-old northern white rhino, was in medical observation for 11 days at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, but she was able to rejoin her pals in her 65-acre habitat Thursday, zoo officials said.

Chuck, Nola's 45-year-old male companion, was there to greet her, while the white Cape buffalo and ostrich who share space with the two looked on.

"Nola is feeling much better so we were able to reintroduce her to her companion, Chuck, and allow her back into her large field habitat where she can roam and get plenty of exercise," said lead zookeeper Jane Kennedy at San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Nola is considered elderly and is one of only five northern white rhinos left in the world. She's the only one of her kind at the Safari Park. She was placed under the care of a veterinarian at the end of December when her appetite seemed to diminish and her activity became low, keepers said. She also had a thick nasal discharge which led keepers to believe she had a sinus infection, but they said she has responded well to antibiotics.

"The reintroduction of Nola and Chuck went as expected; they briefly squabbled to establish dominance, but quickly settled down and seem to be enjoying each other's company," Kennedy said. "We will continue to monitor Nola, and in the event of extremely cold weather, heavy rain or medical issues, we will move her back into the boma where she can stay warm and we can administer extra care."

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park said the last five of Nola's species are all of advanced age and none have reproduced. The poaching of the northern white rhino's horns is the cause of the species' critically low numbers.

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