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Recently while at the Abilene Zoo celebrating "Boo at the Zoo" I got to see Macho the Rhino briefly and while he looked to have a smile on his face none of us knew that he was not feeling 100%. Nonetheless, this morning we received the sad news from Clayton Carabajal from the Abilene Zoo.

While I have spent a lot of time at the zoo, with the personnel and their animals, I know that everyone associated with the Zoo is grieving the passing of Macho the rhino. The Abilene community is also feeling the loss as well. Below is the letter from the Abilene Zoo family.

It is with much sadness and grief that we announce the passing of our beloved black rhinoceros, Macho. He passed away naturally on Monday, November 7, 2022, while resting in his barn at the Abilene Zoo under the watchful care of those who loved him the most; his animal care team and veterinarian team.

The zoo recently released information on the rehabilitation process Macho was going through to help him regain the ability to walk after an unknown leg issue had caused him to lie down. The Abilene Zoo team had been using a therapeutic device to help Macho stand and receive physical therapy.

Macho was not receiving any rehabilitation at the time of his passing. Weighing in at over two thousand pounds and carrying over sixty percent of his body weight on his front legs made Macho’s recovery particularly challenging. Although the initial cause of his passing is unknown, the zoo’s veterinary team will be conducting a necropsy to determine Macho’s cause of death.

“I am deeply saddened for our team.” said Abilene Zoo Director Jesse Pottebaum. “They have poured every ounce of effort and produced innovative ideas to help Macho recover from his leg issue. We are saddened deeply with this loss, but I am so proud of the team’s dedication to help Macho.”

Macho will be deeply missed by all his caregivers, every zoo team member, guests who visit the Abilene Zoo, and our entire Big Country community. Macho was an ambassador for his species, allowing the zoo to introduce him to hundreds of thousands of visitors since arriving at the zoo in 2009 at the age of five. He was known for his kindness, love of snacks, and gentle approach to everything he did. Macho truly was a gentle giant who inspired those young and old to love rhinos and save them from extinction.

Please keep the Abilene Zoo animal care staff, and our entire Zoo Crew in your thoughts and prayers as we mourn the loss of this member of our family. The zoo has requested professional grief counseling for the team. While the Abilene Zoo has planned to include rhinoceros in its future expansion, Macho was a one-of-a-kind personality that can never be replaced. Our hearts are broken.
Source: Abilene Zoo Clayton Carabajal

It is with a very heavy heart for Macho and everyone at our Abilene Zoo that we send our thoughts, prayers, and condolences. The animals at the Abilene Zoo are family members to all the caretakers and they are all in my prayers as well. God bless our Abilene Zoo.

Macho we love you

Clay Carabajal
Clay Carabajal

LOOK: The Abilene Zoo From A to Z

Here's a close-up look at the animals that call the Abilene Zoo home.

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