ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Beloved black rhinoceros, Macho, at the Abilene Zoo passed away Monday after a long battle with a leg issue. The zoo said Macho died naturally, watched over by those who loved him most; the Abilene Zoo’s animal care and veterinarian teams.

Coming to the Abilene Zoo at the age of five years old in 2009, Macho had more recently been going through a rehabilitation process. The zoo said he was suffering from an unknown leg issue, and his caretakers were using a therapeutic device and physical therapy to help him regain his full walking abilities.

Weighing in at more than 2,000 pounds and carrying at least 60% of his weight on his front legs, the zoo said recovery was particularly challenging.

Macho’s specific cause of death is not known at this time, but the Abilene Zoo said it will be conducting a necropsy to figure out exactly what happened.

The Abilene Zoo expressed its condolences to Macho’s loved ones in his passing.

“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.”

Abilene Zoo: Macho the rhino

A press release from the Abilene Zoo continued, “He [Macho] 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.”

In the zoo’s 10-year expansion plan, it said rhinos will be included but, “Macho was a one-of-a-kind personality that can never be replaced. Our hearts are broken.”

The BigCountryHomepage.com team extends our deepest condolences to Macho’s loved ones. He will be missed.