An eastern black rhino, Fausta, believed to be the oldest in the world has died at age 57 in Tanzania.
Last month, a white rhino called Sana died in France at 55 and it was previously thought to be the oldest in the world, CNN reports.
In 1965, Fausta was sighted for the first time in the Ngorongoro crater, a conservation area in the north of the country, by a researcher when she was just three or four years.
Fausta’s death is believed to be of natural causes, the sanctuary sources revealed. She has been with them since 2016.
“Records show that Fausta lived longest than any rhino in the world and survived in the Ngorongoro, free-ranging, for more than 54 years,” Dr. Freddy Manongi, conservation commissioner at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, said in a statement.
It was that same year that her eyesight began deteriorating and the aftereffects of attacks from hyenas and other wild animals started to take a toll on her health.
“Vicious animals, especially hyenas, started attacking her and she received very serious sores,” Dr Manongi told BBC Swahili. “By 2016, we had to get her out of the wild and put her in special care.”
Conservationists in Ngorongoro said Fausta not having calves contributed to her outliving other rhinos.
Female black rhinos usually have their first calf at age seven and typically live between 40 to 50 years when in captivity and they live between 37 and 43 years old in the wild.
Due to “persistent conservation efforts across Africa, black rhino numbers have doubled from their historic low 20 years ago to between 5,042 and 5,455 today.”
According to the world Wildlife Fund, black rhinos are a critically endangered species with a population a little over 5,000, Fox News reports.
Namibia has the largest number of black rhinos and there are international laws that allow five male rhinos to be killed by hunters legally.
Most of the rhinos, however, die due to activities of illegal hunters in search of their horns.