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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Zookeepers at the Oklahoma City Zoo are mourning the loss of a rhino.

Around 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, caretakers discovered Arun, the 30-year-old male Indian rhino, inside the zoo’s rhino barn at the Sanctuary Asia exhibit.

Caretakers reported that Arun had exhibited some abnormal behavior and was less eager to participate in training over the last few weeks. However, he still participated in blood collection practices almost daily, and his most recent bloodwork came back normal. 

“Arun was a great rhino and ambassador for his species who had a special connection with our caretakers and guests alike,” said Rachel Emory, OKC Zoo’s curator of elephants and rhinos. “Though we are sad by his loss, we know Arun’s legacy will live on through his daughter. We look forward to watching her grow and are hopeful she too will contribute to the survival of this species through a successful breeding program.”

The zoo’s veterinary team will conduct a necropsy to determine his cause of death. The median life expectancy for Indian rhinos is 30.2 years.

Arun came to the Oklahoma City Zoo in 2019 from the Fort Worth Zoo as part of a breeding recommendation through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan.

Arun fathered a female rhino calf who was just born on Friday, Oct. 23.