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Hannu Marwell Wildlife's white rhino dies
7:42am Friday 11th January 2013 in News
FOR more than 15 years he was one of Marwell Wildlife’s top attractions.
But staff were forced to put down the 29-year-old male white rhino Hannu yesterday after a battle with severe arthritis.
He had been receiving veterinary care but his condition had rapidly deteriorated.
Hannu was one of three white rhinos at the park along with females Sula and Kiri, and they are one of the most endangered species in the world, hunted by poachers who mistakenly believe their horns have medicinal powers.
He even helped launch Marwell Wildlife’s Go! Rhinos project, backed by the Daily Echo, which will see multi-coloured life-sized rhinos pop up across Southampton during the summer as part of a public art extravaganza.
Phil Robbins, team leader at Marwell said: “It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with such a gentle giant like Hannu.
“All the keepers on north section are going to thoroughly miss him.
“Although nine times out of 10 he was a gentlemen to Sula and Kiri, he could definitely assert his authority and put the girls back in their place when they’re naughty.
“He liked nothing better than to go out into the paddock on hot, summer days with the girls and enjoy the sunshine, have a wallow and rearrange the logs and fence line. He’ll be greatly missed.”
Hannu was born at Knowsley Safari Park.
He arrived at Marwell in 1997, where he fathered two male calves with Sula.
The calves went on to Flamingo Land to start families of their own.
The white rhino is the largest of the five species of rhinoceros and one of the world’s largest land mammals.
They live between 40-50 years, can grow to 4m long and 1.85m high and weigh from 3,000lb to 8,000lb.
But the species is under threat because of the value of their horns in the Asian medicine market.
Horns are now worth more than £25,000 per kg after a rumour broke out that they could cure cancer.
On average an adult white rhino horn weighs about 5kg, meaning the Marwell horns are believed to be worth more than £375,000 on the black market.