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43-year sojourn of �Mohan� ends

By RITURAJ BORTHAKUR
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GUWAHATI, July 19 - Mohan is no more. An incredible sojourn of a bachelor that started forty-three years back from Blackstone in the US came to a sad end late last night.

The African white rhino, an inmate of the Assam State Zoo here, breathed his last at 11.30 pm on Tuesday. He was 50-plus and probably the oldest mammal in the State Zoo. He was the last African rhino in the zoo.

What made the zoo officials sadder is the fact that Mohan served the zoo, or rather the visitors to the facility, till the last day. He was kept in public view till yesterday. In many cases, as animals grow very old, they are shifted to shelters away from public view.

Mohan was brought from the Southwitch Birds and Animals Inc in Blackstone of the US in 1974. The State Zoo authorities here received him on December 22 that year.

�When he was brought, he was probably five or six years old. So he should be around 50 or 51. Normally the lifespan of a rhino is around 40-45 years,� Zoo DFO Tejas Mariswamy told The Assam Tribune.

It is learnt that the zoo authorities could not find a suitable mate for him, and as a result, Mohan had to die a bachelor.

The DFO said age had caught up with Mohan. �He had lost his teeth�the food pipe had nearly collapsed, as a result of which we were giving him liquid food for some time. At this age, you cannot treat the animal,� he said.

The white rhino has a wide mouth. Though the colour of the animal is grey, the name of the white rhino is sometimes said to be a corruption of the Dutch word, �wijd� (meaning large), but nobody really knows where the names come from, according to the WWF.

The white rhino grows to 1.8 metres and weighs over two tons. It is second only to the African elephant in terms of size with regard to land mammals. It is a grazer and lives in social groups.

The white rhino is the least endangered of the living rhino species with a population ranging from 19,682 and 21,077 individuals in the wild. They mainly eat grass and are the most abundant rhino species. They have two horns.

The State Zoo here now has only five Indian rhinos, among its 1,170 inmates. Mohan was buried on the zoo premises today after the necessary formalities.

Swathi, the oldest living Royal Bengal tigress in captive environment in the country, had died at the Assam State Zoo on July 16 last.

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43-year sojourn of �Mohan� ends

GUWAHATI, July 19 - Mohan is no more. An incredible sojourn of a bachelor that started forty-three years back from Blackstone in the US came to a sad end late last night.

The African white rhino, an inmate of the Assam State Zoo here, breathed his last at 11.30 pm on Tuesday. He was 50-plus and probably the oldest mammal in the State Zoo. He was the last African rhino in the zoo.

What made the zoo officials sadder is the fact that Mohan served the zoo, or rather the visitors to the facility, till the last day. He was kept in public view till yesterday. In many cases, as animals grow very old, they are shifted to shelters away from public view.

Mohan was brought from the Southwitch Birds and Animals Inc in Blackstone of the US in 1974. The State Zoo authorities here received him on December 22 that year.

�When he was brought, he was probably five or six years old. So he should be around 50 or 51. Normally the lifespan of a rhino is around 40-45 years,� Zoo DFO Tejas Mariswamy told The Assam Tribune.

It is learnt that the zoo authorities could not find a suitable mate for him, and as a result, Mohan had to die a bachelor.

The DFO said age had caught up with Mohan. �He had lost his teeth�the food pipe had nearly collapsed, as a result of which we were giving him liquid food for some time. At this age, you cannot treat the animal,� he said.

The white rhino has a wide mouth. Though the colour of the animal is grey, the name of the white rhino is sometimes said to be a corruption of the Dutch word, �wijd� (meaning large), but nobody really knows where the names come from, according to the WWF.

The white rhino grows to 1.8 metres and weighs over two tons. It is second only to the African elephant in terms of size with regard to land mammals. It is a grazer and lives in social groups.

The white rhino is the least endangered of the living rhino species with a population ranging from 19,682 and 21,077 individuals in the wild. They mainly eat grass and are the most abundant rhino species. They have two horns.

The State Zoo here now has only five Indian rhinos, among its 1,170 inmates. Mohan was buried on the zoo premises today after the necessary formalities.

Swathi, the oldest living Royal Bengal tigress in captive environment in the country, had died at the Assam State Zoo on July 16 last.