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Message from Chris Pfefferkorn, President and CEO, The Birmingham Zoo

I am so sad to share that last Friday night we had to say goodbye to Moyo, the 6-year-old male Eastern Black Rhinoceros at The Birmingham Zoo.

Moyo underwent a standard dental procedure on Thursday, January 25, 2024. Since he was going to be under anesthesia, representatives from SEZARC (Southeast Zoo Alliance for Reproduction & Conservation) and the Omaha Zoo collected semen from Moyo as part of a reproductive assessment for possible future artificial insemination. Both procedures went as planned. However, Moyo was not able to stand up afterwards after being awakened from anesthesia. Our staff went above and beyond to care for Moyo.

We called in Weil Wrecker Service Thursday mid-day to help lift Moyo onto his legs. When more help was needed, ASAR Training and Response (Animal Search & Rescue) from Kansas came in to help lift him and address his issues. These national experts brought in a large metal tripod to lift Moyo. Unfortunately, he still was not able to stand on his legs after repeated attempts.

After two days of heroic efforts by dozens of animal experts, Moyo was still unable to stand and there was nothing left that we could do to help him. He was euthanized late Friday night, January 26. Our vet team will continue to search for answers for what happened to Moyo so we can learn from this tragic event.

I would like to thank our zoo team for the great care they have taken of Moyo since he arrived in June 22 and especially over the past week. They are heartbroken, as are all of us at the Birmingham Zoo. Please keep the animal care and animal health teams in your thoughts and thank you to everyone that has provided help and support the last few days.

Moyo was born May 17, 2017 came to the Birmingham Zoo on June 11, 2022. The Birmingham Zoo has one remaining Eastern Black Rhinoceros, Kesi, a six-year-old female who arrived in June 2022.