CINCINNATI -- Nikki, one of the Cincinnati Zoo’s endangered Indian rhinos, passed away early Thursday.
Zoo officials said died in her indoor home at about 7 a.m. at the Zoo’s Rhino Reserve.
Nikki was born at the Toronto Zoo in 1991 was known worldwide for the world’s first successful artificial insemination procedure for her species.
“Today the Cincinnati Zoo has lost one of its most beloved animals. Nikki was charismatic and charmed anyone who had the privilege of knowing and loving her,” Dr. Monica Stoops, Reproductive Physiologist at the Cincinnati Zoo, said via a release. “Without a doubt, her absence will leave a great hole in our hearts and she will never be forgotten.”
Officials said the technology developed by zoo researchers to produce a pregnancy via artificial insemination in the endangered species represented a major scientific achievement.
Nikki’s two pregnancies were considered milestones in developing the technology to save her species.
Stoops said, “While we are all devastated by her loss, we could not be more honored to have worked with her and loved her over the years.”