Death of Nabiré: Only Four Known Living Northern White Rhinoceroses

by DerdriuMarriner

The death of Nabiré in the Czech Republic’s Dvůr Králové Zoo leaves only four known living northern white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum cottoni).

Inoperable ruptured uterine cysts end Nabiré’s kindest life

One conservancy and two zoos account for twenty-first century opportunities to see and study rare northern white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum cottoni). The death of the Czech Republic-born female Nabiré (November 15, 1983 – July 27, 2015) brings the world’s known total of captive northern white rhinoceroses to four.
The Czech Republic’s African fauna-specialized Dvůr Králové Zoo no longer counts therefore among the homes away from home for the surviving quartet of:
• the female Nola (born Sudan, 1974) at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park of California;
• the females Fatu (born Czech Republic, June 29, 2000) and Najin (born Czech Republic, July 11, 1989) and the male Sudan (born Shambe, Sudan, 1973) in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy of Kenya.




Sudan (born 1973, in Republic of Sudan, northeastern Africa), at age of 36, in Czech Zoo Park the day before his transfer to Ol Pejeta Conservancy in central Kenya, December 2009

Dvůr Králové Zoo, Czech zoo park
Dvůr Králové Zoo, Czech zoo park

Regional violence, traditional medicine, trophy parts frustrate sustainability


Formal scientific interest in northern white rhinoceroses dates to 1908, with English bio-geographer, geologist, and naturalist Richard Lydekker’s (July 25, 1849 – April 16, 1915) official taxonomy in 1908. But simultaneous and subsequent amateur, expert, and newbie observations consistently express reservations over in-the-wild sustainability in:

  • native, 10,000,000+-year-old distribution ranges within east Central African Republic, northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo, northwest Uganda, and southernmost South Sudan; and
  • suspected bio-geographies into Cameroon and Chad.

They furnish the reason for the National Museum of Natural History’s exquisite Lado Enclave region-born specimen collected along the upper Nile River’s west bank during the Smithsonian’s co-sponsored East Africa Expedition of 1909/1910 with twenty-sixth U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt (October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919). 


Nola (born 1974 in Republic of Sudan) the Northern White Rhinoceros female on July 10, 2012:

Since deaths of Nadi on May 30, 2007, and of Angalifu (born 1974) on December 14, 2014, Nola now is only Northern White Rhino in San Diego Zoo.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Escondido, northern San Diego County, Southern California
San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Escondido, northern San Diego County, Southern California

13+-foot (3.96+-meter), 3168+-pound (1436.98+-meter) bodies give nobody pause


The Smithsonian’s Roosevelt specimen indeed gives excellent information regarding the massive physique of one of sub-Saharan Africa’s two endangered, grey-coated, hearing-guided, mud-wallowing, plant-eating, shade-loving, smell-sensitive, two-horned rhinoceros genera, of which:

  • the black, hook-lipped Diceros bicornis (two horns) browses bushes and trees for fruit and leaves; and
  • the northern and southern square-lipped white Ceratotherium simum cottoni (white flat-nosed horn-beast) and Ceratotherium simum simum graze on grasses.

It additionally is prescient that only one of the expedition’s specimens is displayed since extinction apparently describes the northern white rhinoceros’s status in the wild and reproduction historically is problematic in captivity. Scientists indeed judge live birth impossible because of:

  • Fatu’s infertility;
  • Najin’s weak hind legs;
  • Nola’s age; and
  • Sudan’s low-quality sperm. 


June 2010: unidentified Northern White Rhino, one of four (2 female, 2 male) transferred from Dvůr Králové Zoo and welcomed into new home on December 20, 2009, at Ol Pejeta Conservancy ~

Along with dwindling population of Northern White Rhinos, Ol Pejeta Conservancy is home to 100+ critically endangered Black Rhinos (Diceros bicornis) and also to 20+ near-threatened Southern White Rhinos (Ceratotherium simum simum).
Ol Pejeta Conservancy, central Kenya
Ol Pejeta Conservancy, central Kenya

37+-inch (93.98+-centimeter) fore-horns, 22-inch (55.88-centimeter) hind-horns hamper sustainability


Scientists currently know of one option for ensuring northern white rhinoceros-filled futures:

  • in-vitro fertilizing eggs harvested from Nabiré’s left ovary with sperm collected from Sudan or frozen from long-dead males; and
  • transplanting in Nabiré’s closest living relative, a female southern white rhinoceros.

The procedure nevertheless leads researchers into peril-fraught territory because of:

  • laboratories having more rhinoceros sperm than eggs; and
  • northern white rhinoceros females optimally ovulating one egg every 30+ days.

Scientific advances and technological breakthroughs additionally must surface since nobody yet has experience or expertise in lab-maturing immature eggs and pioneering the world’s first-ever rhinoceros in vitro fertilization.

Hope need not be lost: Dvůr Králové’s staff intend for Nabiré’s life not to be lived in vain. 


removal of Nabiré's cyst in October 2014

Published on YouTube on October 10, 2014 by ZOO Dvůr Králové ~ URL:



My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.


Angalifu (ang-uh-LEEF-oo), male Northern White Rhinoceros, on July 10, 2012:

Death of Angalifu (born 1974) on December 14, 2014, leaves Nola as only Northern White Rhino in San Diego Zoo Safari Park
San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Escondido, northern San Diego County, Southern California
San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Escondido, northern San Diego County, Southern California

Sources Consulted


Agence France-Presse. 28 July 2015. “Il ne reste plus que quatre rhinoceros blanc du nord dans le monde.” La > Actu > Planète. Retrieved July 31, 2015.

  • Available @

Agence France-Presse. 28 July 2015. “Rare Rhino Dies at Czech Zoo, Leaving Just Four Northern White Rhino on Earth.” The Guardian > Environment > Wildlife > Endangered Species. Retrieved July 31, 2015.

  • Available @

Animal News. 30 July 2015. “Northern White Rhino: Only Four Left in the World after the Death of Nabire.” Inquisitr. Retrieved July 31, 2015.

  • Available @

Anthony, Lawrence. 2012. The Last Rhinos: My Battle to Save One of the World’s Greatest Creatures. New York, NY, U.S.A.: Thomas Dunne Books. 

Colbeck, Martyn. 14 August 2007. Africa’s Incredible Hulks: Unforgettable Elephants; Rhinoceros. Nature Series Parts 1 – 2. Chicago, IL, U.S.A.: Questar, Inc. 

Dell’Amore, Christine. 21 October 2014. “L’ultimo rinoceronte.” National Geographic Italia. Retrieved July 31, 2015.

  • Available @

djublonskopf. 18 June 2015. “These Are the Last Five Northern White Rhinos on Earth.” Observation Deck. Retrieved July 31, 2015.

  • Available @

Emslie, Richard; and Brooks, Martin. (Compilers). 1999. African Rhino: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. Cambridge, England, U.K.: IUCN, World Conservation Union. 

Groves, Colin P.; Fernando, Prithiviraj; and Robovsky, Jan. 7 April 2010. “The Sixth Rhino:  A Taxonomic Re-Assessment of the Critically Endangered Northern White Rhinoceros.” PLoS One 5 (4): e9703. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009703

  • Available via PLOS ONE at:

Heller, Edmund. 1913. The White Rhinoceros, with Thirty-one Plates. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution. 

Holeckova, Dana. “Last Chance to Survive – Northern White Rhino Conservation Project.” Dvůr Králové > Content. Retrieved July 31, 2015.

  • Available @

Ionesco, Eugène. 1960. Rhinoceros, and Other Plays. Translated by Derek Prouse. New York, NY: Grove Press. 

Janicek, Karel. July 8, 2011. Updated September 7, 2011. “Northern White Rhino, Nabire, Looks for Love in Europe.” Huffington Post. Retrieved July 31, 2015.

  • Available @

Kipling, Rudyard. 1912. Just So Stories. Black and White Illustrations by the Author. Color Illustrations by J.M. Gleeson. Garden City, NY, U.S.A.: Doubleday  & Co. 

Lydekker, Richard. 22 February 1908. “The White Rhinoceros.” The Field (London), 111:319. 

McConnell, Tristan. 12 February 2015. “In Kenya, The End is Nigh for Northern White Rhinos.” Yahoo! News. Retrieved July 31, 2015.

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“Rhino Species – Rhinocerotidae.” Rhino Resource Center. Retrieved July 31, 2015.

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“Roosevelt Rhinoceros.” Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History > Explore Our Collections. Retrieved July 31, 2015.

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“WhiteRhino.” International Rhino Foundation > Rhinos. Retrieved July 31, 2015.

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“White Rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum.” National Geographic > Animals > Mammals. Retrieved July 31, 2015.

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Nabiré (November 15, 1983 – July 27, 2015)

Northern White Rhinos at Dvůr Králové Zoo, Czech zoo park
Colin Groves et al., "The Sixth Rhino" (2010), Figure 9
Colin Groves et al., "The Sixth Rhino" (2010), Figure 9
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

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Northern White Rhino

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Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 10/16/2021, DerdriuMarriner
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DerdriuMarriner on 08/01/2015

WriterArtist, Me too, the death of Nabiré saddens me since I've been following northern white rhinoceros news for some time now. But it's reassuring to know that in her short life -- since the northern white rhinoceros has the potential of living 50 years -- Nabiré was cared and visited by people who really loved her. It's that kind of appreciation that gives me hope that it's not too late for the world's animals and plants, which -- I agree -- are precious.

WriterArtist on 07/31/2015

I feel sad and sorry for the death of white rhinoceros from the four remaining rhinos in the zoo. All these news make me wonder whether we are doing enough to save our planet. All the flora and fauna is precious and we should do everything to protect what is remaining.

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