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Grandpa Toby the world’s oldest white rhino dies aged 54 after collapsing at Italian zoo

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Grandpa Toby, the oldest white rhinoceros in the world, dies aged 54 after collapsing on his way to bed at Italian zoo

  • The rhinoceros, affectionately known as Grandpa Tony, died in the zoo Parco Natura Viva
  • He died after falling to the ground while walking back to his nighttime hideout
  • Toby is embalmed and put on display in a science museum in Trento










The world’s oldest white rhinoceros, fondly known as Grandpa Tony, has died aged 54 after collapsing on his way to bed at a zoo in northern Italy.

‘Nonno Toby’ died after falling to the ground while walking back to his overnight quarters at Parco Natura Viva, a zoo near the northern city of Verona, on October 6.

“He fell to the ground on the way back to his overnight quarters and after about half an hour his heart stopped,” said Elisa Livia Pennacchioni, the zoo’s spokeswoman.

Toby will be embalmed and put on display at the MuSe science museum in Trento, where he will join Blanco, a white lion from the zoo who died five years ago, Pennacchioni said.

The world’s oldest white rhinoceros, fondly known as Grandpa Tony (pictured in 2019), has died aged 54 after collapsing on his way to bed at a zoo in northern Italy

'Nonno Toby' died after falling to the ground while walking back to his overnight quarters at the Parco Natura Viva, a zoo near the northern city of Verona, on October 6.

‘Nonno Toby’ died after falling to the ground while walking back to his overnight quarters at the Parco Natura Viva, a zoo near the northern city of Verona, on October 6.

White rhinoceroses normally live up to 40 years when kept in captivity, and up to 30 years in the wild, she said.

Cesare Avesani Zaborra, CEO of the zoo, said: “We knew it would happen sooner or later, but it remains deeply sad to greet the last hour of the ‘good giant’, who has brought with us the history of the past half century. has built.’

Toby’s death, following the death of his female partner Sugar in 2012, leaves the Parco Natura Viva with one remaining white rhinoceros: Benno, age 39.

Toby was a southern white rhinoceros — just one of five rhino species not listed as endangered, with an estimated population of about 18,000, according to the WWF.

However, only two of the northern subspecies of the white rhinoceros that live in Kenya and are guarded 24 hours a day by armed guards, the environmental group says.

Toby (pictured in 2017) will be embalmed and put on display at the MuSe science museum in Trento, where he will join Blanco, a white lion from the zoo who died five years ago, Pennacchioni said.

Toby (pictured in 2017) will be embalmed and put on display at the MuSe science museum in Trento, where he will join Blanco, a white lion from the zoo who died five years ago, Pennacchioni said.

White rhinoceroses normally live up to 40 years when kept in captivity, and up to 30 years in the wild.  Pictured: Toby at the Italian Zoo in 2016

White rhinoceroses normally live up to 40 years when kept in captivity, and up to 30 years in the wild. Pictured: Toby at the Italian Zoo in 2016

Toby was a southern white rhinoceros — just one of five rhino species not listed as endangered, with an estimated population of about 18,000, according to the WWF

Toby was a southern white rhinoceros — just one of five rhino species not listed as endangered, with an estimated population of about 18,000, according to the WWF

Rhinoceroses are killed for their horns, which are highly prized in Asia for traditional and medicinal purposes.

But breeding them is difficult, as a female gives birth to a calf only once every three to four years, after a gestation period of 16 months.

In 2019, the world’s oldest black rhinoceros died at the age of 57 in a Tanzanian reserve after living most of her life in the wild.

The female rhinoceros, named Fausta, is believed to have died of natural causes on December 27, 2019, according to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority.

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