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Zoo Miami announces death of 43-year-old Eastern black rhino

Zoo Miami's Eastern black rhino, Toshi.
Zoo Miami's Eastern black rhino, Toshi. (Zoo Miami)

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Zoo Miami announced the death of its beloved black rhino, Toshi, on Friday.

Toshi was nearly 44 years old and was believed to be the oldest Eastern black rhino in North America and the second oldest in the world.

According to a news release, Toshi died due a variety of ailments that came along with advanced age.

Some of those ailments, including severe arthritis, were being successfully treated with medications, but zoo officials said the treatments became less effective as time went on.

According to the news release, Toshi experienced dramatic weight loss in recent weeks and became lethargic.

PHOTOS: Zoo Miami photos of Toshi

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Zoo Miami Eastern black rhino, Toshi, painting.

Veterinarians conducted tests on the rhino, but were unable to determine what was causing the weight loss.

Zoo Miami officials said Toshi’s caretakers ultimately made the decision to immobilize him last week so that more “detailed and revealing tests could be done as a final effort to find answers and hopefully stop the serious decline in Toshi’s condition.”

Unfortunately, the tests did not reveal any specific reason for his sudden decline in health and he took a turn for the worse Sunday night.

According to the news release, Toshi was struggling to get up and it was clear that there was no hope of recovery at that point so he was euthanized.

Toshi was born in April 1977 in Hiroshima, Japan. He came to Zoo Miami by ship in April 1983, back when it was called the Miami Metrozoo.

Zoo Miami officials say while Toshi was a strong and large animal, he was known to be gentle.

The Eastern black rhino is a highly endangered species, but Toshi fathered several offspring during his time at Zoo Miami, and at the time of his death he was a great-great grandfather.

About the Author:

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.