15-year-old rhinoceros at Omaha Zoo euthanized after health complications

The Greater one-horned rhino named Jontu suffered from a gastrointestinal illness
Jontu, a 15-year-old male Greater one-horned rhino died Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Jontu, a 15-year-old male Greater one-horned rhino died Tuesday, March 28, 2023(Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium)
Published: Apr. 1, 2023 at 11:15 AM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A beloved rhino at the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium has died following complications with an illness.

According to the zoo, the 15-year-old, male Greater one-horned rhino named Jontu was euthanized Tuesday, March 28 after his condition deteriorated over weeks of veterinary care for a gastrointestinal illness. During his care, Jontu was diagnosed with an inoperable partial intestinal obstruction.

Jontu came to the Omaha Zoo in May 2011 and lived in the Asian Highlands exhibit.

“After spending most of his life in Omaha, Jontu was an incredible representative of Greater one-horned rhinos,” said Dan Cassidy, the Vice President of Animal Management for Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. “He will be greatly missed by our Zoo family and the Omaha community. Our condolences are with the Zoo teams that cared for him every day.”

The zoo says Jontu was known for being calm and gentle.

“He was the best boy… ever,” said Jami Ruether, the Hoofstock and Rhino Senior Keeper for the zoo. “I will miss his hello snorts, giving him mud baths in the winter, training and just overall, him. Jontu was a favorite and will be deeply missed.”

Jontu’s legacy lives on with a son named Marshall who still resides at the Omaha Zoo. He also has a daughter named Joona who currently lives at the Denver Zoo.

The Omaha Zoo says Greater one-horned rhinos are listed as a vulnerable species and only an estimated 3,500-3,600 are left in the world.