If you have been to the Caldwell Zoo in the last several years, you no doubt have seen this formidable figure, the black rhinoceros named Cornelius.
We are sad to report he passed away on April 3 after showing signs of illness including lethargy and loss of appetite.
According to officials at the Caldwell Zoo, early results of the necropsy and tissue testing indicate that Cornelius was suffering from pneumonia and mycobacterium tuberculosis complex was present in his lungs. Further testing is underway to identify the species of mycobacterium.
The Zoo has consulted with Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Animal Health Commission, medical staff at the University of Texas Health Science Center Occupational Health Clinic and is working closely with these agencies.
Despite determination by these experts that the risk to employees, visitors, and animals is minimal, the Zoo is being proactive in taking steps to ensure safety. Therefore, pending further test results, the rhino building will be closed to the public.
The remaining three rhinos are showing no signs of illness and can continue to be viewed safely in their exhibit yards.