'World's oldest' black rhino dies in Tanzanian sanctuary

Rhinos in the wild have a life expectancy between 37 and 43 years.
Rhinos in the wild have a life expectancy between 37 and 43 years. Photo credit: Getty Images

A 57-year-old black rhino believed to be the oldest in the world has died in a conservation area in Tanzania.

The female rhino named Fausta died of a suspected natural death on Friday in the sanctuary where she spent her final three years, conservation commissioner of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority said in a statement.

"Records show that Fausta lived longer than any rhino in the world and survived in the Ngorongoro, free-ranging, for more than 54 years," Dr Freddy Manongi said. She was moved to a sanctuary in 2016.

Fausta was first found by a scientist from the University of Dar Es Salaam in the Ngorongoro crater in 1965 when she was three to four-years-old.

Her health began to deteriorate in 2016 after several attacks from hyenas, and Dr Manongi said they were "forced" to place her in captivity.

Fausta also lost her eyesight before she was moved, which would also compromise her survival in the wild. She never bore calves.

Sana, a female southern white rhino, was considered the world's oldest white rhino when she died aged 55 at La Planet Sauvage zoological park in France in 2017.

Dr Manongi said the life expectancy of rhinos in the wild is between 37 and 43 years, but they can live up to 50 years and above in captivity.

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