BALTIMORE — The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is saddened to announce the death of Jaharo, the Zoo’s six-year-old male rhinoceros, who died suddenly on Sunday, January 27, 2019, in the early afternoon.
“Jaharo had been undergoing treatment for serious health issues, but was eating, drinking and behaving normally for the past several weeks,” stated Mike McClure, general curator at the Zoo. “On Sunday, his condition went into decline very rapidly and our efforts to stabilize him were not successful. He was truly a favorite of staff and visitors alike with his personable attitude and willingness to train. Jaharo will really be missed at the African Watering Hole.”
“Last fall, Jaharo was diagnosed with suspected immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, a disorder that occurs when red blood cells are destroyed by the body’s own immune system. This is a disease that, as far as we can determine, has never before been seen in a white rhinoceros,” explained Dr. Ellen Bronson, senior director of animal health, conservation and research for the Zoo. “We consulted with many different rhino experts, veterinary specialists, and other experts around the country to develop a course of treatment for him specifically.”
“Medically, we were able to manage the severe anemia with intensive care that included multiple medications and a transfusion of a novel synthetic blood product. He stabilized and returned to his normal self, but the anemia returned in early January. We restarted treatments and he again appeared to be initially responding well, until he suddenly declined on Sunday,” continued Bronson.
“Jaharo was always interested in the training sessions with his animal care team, and the animal keepers and veterinary technicians worked with him to accomplish numerous blood collections and injections of medications that were vital to his treatment success,” stated McClure. “I cannot overstate the importance of the training program and the diligent care he received day-in and day-out from the animal caregivers in the past several months.”
“Stubby, the other male rhino, will continue to reside in the African Watering Hole habitat with the zebra and ostrich,” continued McClure. “We will work the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) to assess what our next steps are for white rhinos here, and to discuss if we will bring in another rhino as a companion for Stubby.”