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Honolulu Zoo bids aloha to Satsuki the rhino

Sastuki, the female black rhinoceros

HONOLULU – It is with sadness that the Honolulu Zoo announces Satsuki, a 26 year-old female black rhinoceros, died Monday evening due to complications associated with illness and age.

Honolulu Zoo Director Linda Santos stated that veterinarians, curators and keeper staff made a decision to conduct an emergency procedure on the rhinoceros when she had shown signs of increased abdominal pressure and rectal prolapse. Veterinary staff anesthetized Satsuki to allow for intervention to address the prolapsed tissue, however, she did not wake up from the procedure. A necropsy was performed and results revealed significant fluid buildup, infiltrative disease, and inflammatory response throughout body tissues. Testing confirmed that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in people, did not play a role in Satsuki’s illness or death.

Satsuki was born on May 16, 1995 at the Asa Zoo in Hiroshima, Japan. Hiroshima and Honolulu have been sister cities since June 15, 1959, and the Asa Zoo has since become a sister zoo of the Honolulu Zoo. In 1999, Satsuki was flown from Hiroshima to the Honolulu Zoo to join Corky, the male black rhinoceros. Though they were unable to successfully reproduce, they shared 22 years of companionship at the Honolulu Zoo. 

Satsuki and Corky

“Satsuki was an adorable black rhino known for her particularly long tufts of hair on her ears. She will be dearly missed as Satsuki was always very visible to the public and a favorite of many zoo members and staff who would watch her bathe in her pool and interact with Corky,” said Santos.

The black rhinoceros, or hook-lipped rhinoceros are native to eastern and southern Africa and are listed as critically endangered by the IUCN. Their average life span ranges from 35 to 50 years.


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