Cincinnati Zoo's only female Sumatran rhino dies

LISA CORNWELL Associated Press Published:

CINCINNATI (AP) -- The Cincinnati Zoo says the death of its only female Sumatran rhino is a blow to a breeding program aimed at saving the critically endangered species.

The zoo says the rhino named Suci (SOOCH'-ee) died Sunday after showing symptoms of a disease that killed her mother five years ago. Final results of a necropsy won't be known for weeks.

Suci was born in 2004. She was one of three Sumatran rhino calves born at the zoo and had not produced offspring.

Keepers had hoped to mate her with a captive male, possibly her brother, who also lived at the zoo. He is now the only Sumatran rhino in North America.

Conservationists have concluded as few as 100 of the two-horned, hairy rhinos might remain in their native southeast Asia.