Kigoma, a 13-year-old male black rhinoceros, died as a result of an accident at Tallinn Zoo around noon on 19 June after wedging its head between two metal poles and not being able to free itself.
Both of the two rhinos of Tallinn Zoo, Kigoma and Kibibi, were moved to a rebuilt temporary ground in the zoo’s hoofed animals building last week to enable repairs to the rhino enclosure floors in the thick-skinned animals building, spokespeople for the zoo said.
The temporary site, formerly an area for young elephants, was adapted for rhinos and an attempt was made to eliminate any risks that could pose a threat to the animals. Kibibi and Kigoma had been under round-the-clock surveillance by caretakers and veterinarians since last week, and the caretakers noted that Kigoma was calm in its new home and no anxiety was observed in its behavior.
Unfortunately, around noon on 19 June, Kigoma unpredictably stood up against a smooth partition wall and got its head and horns caught between two metal bars. Zookeepers and veterinarians immediately took steps to help it, but freeing a 1.2 ton animal is no easy task. The metal bar was cut, but it was too late – the rhino died.
The male rhinoceros born in 2010, who was brought to Tallinn Zoo in 2013, was a peaceful and sometimes timid animal, according to the zoo.
The zoo described the tragic demise of Kigoma is a shock to all of their employees, comparable to the loss of a family member.