White rhino's remains go to the Smithsonian

When Nola the northern white rhino died this weekend at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, she left behind only three of her kind currently in existence.

The San Diego Zoo announced that  41-year-old Nola, one of only four remaining northern white rhinos, had died.

The San Diego Zoo announced that 41-year-old Nola, one of only four remaining northern white rhinos, had died. Image by San Diego Zoo Safari Park

While her death was a hit to her near-extinct species, her body will now go to help researchers at the Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

Only three northern white rhinos are now left in the world, and all of them are at a sanctuary in Kenya where they are guarded against poachers. The animals were native to Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic, according to the Smithsonian.

Nola, who was 41-years-old, was euthanised due to failing health. Her horns and body will go to a non-exhibit area of the Smithsonian so that researchers can study her species.

Researchers are still looking for ways to preserve the species, and one possibility is creating a hybrid between the northern and southern white rhinos, reports the LA Times, or to use a northern white rhino embryo in a surrogate southern rhino to help continue the species.

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