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Maryland Zoo's rhino Jaharo dies after battle with illness

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Posted at 4:51 PM, Jan 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-30 08:19:22-05

BALTIMORE — Jaharo, the Maryland Zoo’s 6-year-old male rhinoceros, died suddenly early Sunday afternoon, the zoo announced Tuesday.

Jaharo had been diagnosed with a suspected immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, a disorder that happens when red blood cells attack the body’s immune system, the Maryland Zoo’s senior director of animal health, conservation and research Dr. Ellen Bronson explained in a statement. To Bronson’s recollection, the disease has not been seen in white rhinos before. The zoo’s medical team worked with other experts and specialist to develop a treatment plan.

Bronson said they tried several medications and a transfusion of a synthetic blood product, and Jaharo had seemed to be doing well, but in January the anemia returned. They restarted treatments, and the rhino seemed to be doing well, when his condition suddenly declined Sunday. Zoo staff attempted to stabilize Jaharo, but it was to no avail.

The zoo will consult with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums to evaluate whether to bring in another rhino as a companion for Stubby, the other mail rhino that lives at the Zoo’s African Watering Hole, said the Zoo’s general curator Mike McClure. Currently, Stubby’s neighbors are an ostrich and a zebra that also live in the exhibit.

McClure trumpeted the efforts of the Zoo’s animal care team, animal keepers, and veterinarian technicians who handled Jaharo’s care as they tried to battle the illness.

“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,“ McClure said. “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.”