2nd October 1983 - 14th April 2017
He was a legend
Port Lympne Reserve is saddened to announce the death of black rhino, Kingo on April 14th 2017.
Kingo passed away suddenly from heart failure and, following a post-mortem by the vets, his ashes have now been returned to the Reserve, where they will be buried under a memorial tree.
Kingo was 33 years old and was much loved by not only the dedicated team of Rhino Keepers but also the visitors who met him. He was a gentle, steady and affectionate rhino, who loved being made a fuss of and meeting people. He was sweet in nature although as a breeding bull, keepers still showed him the respect he deserved, as he could also be a powerful and unpredictable force!
Born on 2nd October 1983 to founding female Rukwa, Kingo was the second calf born at Port Lympne. For Rukwa he was to be her first of 6 calves. His father was founding bull Baringo of Dublin zoo and just over a month after his birth on 11.11.83 his half-sister Arusha was born to Founding Kenyan wild caught female Naivasha
Naivasha and Rukwa were great friends and their calves – Arusha and Kingo, not only grew up together but went on to run together for a few years.
Kingo spent his main breeding years at Port Lympne, where he sired four calves, two of which were sent to protected reserves in Tanzania and South Africa respectively, as part of breeding programmes, designed to save the black rhino from extinction.
In 1996, Kingo met his great companion and love – Vuyu, who arrived at Port Lympne as part of a breeding programme. The two adored each other and were rarely seen apart. When together they were often seen grazing and wallowing, or sleeping side by side heads tucked in together.
The pair produced three calves; Kivu, Vungu and Nyota. Kiva was translocated to South Africa and has gone on to have 6 calves of her own, whilst Vungu is currently in Rotterdam and his first calf is due in January 2018 and Nyota remains at Port Lympne.
Kingo’s last couple of years were full of meeting people. He was a perfect ambassador for the black rhino species. He absolutely loved being made a fuss of and he touched the lives of hundreds, possibly thousands of people.
He was always accommodating and gave visitors the opportunity to experience the sweet and affectionate nature of black rhinos who are so often thought of as bad tempered!
Rhino Keeper, Berry White said: ‘Kingo’s unexpected and sudden departure took our breath away and stopped us in our tracks. He held such presence not only amongst his rhino family but with his keepers and many people who came into contact with him at Port Lympne.
He was a legend and it was a shock that he was suddenly gone. Ultimately, we couldn’t wish for it any other way for him. He didn’t fade out or suffer. He was an absolutely wonderful rhino, he meant so much to us. We’re really grateful to him and will miss him.
For the rhino family he was incredibly significant. His offspring continue to thrive here in the UK, in Europe and in Africa. Goodbye dear Kingo and thank you for being such a special rhino to us.’