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Devon rhino Sita dies

Sita has died after an illness (image courtesy: Wild Planet Trust)

She was "immensely popular" at Paignton Zoo

An "immensely loved" black rhinoceros at Paignton Zoo has died.

Sita, who was 33, had been receiving "round-the-clock" veterinary care this week, but passed away after an ongoing illness.

The Wild Planet Trust, which runs Paignton Zoo, said she was "no longer responding as effectively to treatment" and therefore its team made the "extremely difficult decision" to put her down on welfare grounds.

Sita had lived in Devon since 2002 and made headlines when she gave birth to her daughter, Zuri, on a livestream in 2007.

Paignton Zoo said" "We know how sad this news will be to our community. Since becoming part of the Paignton Zoo family in 2002, she has been a popular character.

"We would like to thank everyone for their kindness and support during this time. Sita was immensely loved and will remain in the hearts of the team and our visitors."

The zoo said the rhino house, which had been closed to the public while Sita was receiving treatment, would remain closed for "a little while longer".

It said: "In 2010, Sita was joined by her companion, Manyara, who still lives here at Paignton Zoo.

Sita was brought to the zoo from Berlin as part of the European Endangered Species Programme for breeding purposes. Black rhinos are classed as "critically endangered" by the World Wildlife Fund, with about 6,000 living in the wild.

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