Southern White Rhino at Phoenix Zoo passes away

Posted at 5:36 PM, Nov 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-22 20:27:21-05

On Tuesday afternoon, the Phoenix Zoo announced that its Southern white rhinoceros has died.

The zoo said the 45-year-old rhino named "Half Ear" had been in a "gradual decline" for several months with decreased appetite, less mobility and weight loss. She also recently suffered "an acute, serious neurological issue" and recovered, but had some lingering issues.

On Tuesday, Nov. 22, Half Ear was humanely euthanized, the zoo said.

"One of the hardest things about the privilege of working with animals is that sometimes you have to say goodbye," the zoo wrote in a Facebook post announcing the rhino's death.

Half Ear arrived at the Phoenix Zoo in 2004 with her long-time companion, Notch, who died in 2011. Because they were so close, it was decided that Half Ear and Notch would retire together at the zoo.