PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Zoo officials say their 24-year-old eastern black rhino “Pete” has been euthanized due to advanced kidney failure.
Zoo curator Michael Illig was Pete’s original keeper when the rhino arrived at the Portland zoo as a 500-pound juvenile more than 20 years ago. Illig recalls sleeping in the rhino barn and hand-feeding Pete for a few days until he settled into his new home.
Says Illig, “Black rhinos can range from very nice to not very nice and Pete was just one of the best.” At 2,500 pounds, zoo officials say Pete looked tough but was very sweet-tempered.
Pete and his mate had a female calf in 1997 but his mate died in 2005. A 3-year-old female rhino arrived at the Oregon Zoo last April. Zoo officials say they will look for another male to be paired with her.