LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Lulu, a 31-year-old Southern White Rhinoceros died at the Louisville Zoo Wednesday after battling cancer.

According to a news release from the Zoo, the veterinarian staff found an abnormal growth in Lulu's reproductive tract in the spring. When the tumor grew more aggressive this fall, vets determined that she was battling cancer.

Zoo vets consulted with rhino experts and were advised that this type of cancer spreads to the entire body in rhinos and was incurable. With this prognosis in mind and Lulu's failing quality of life, the decision was made to humanely euthanize Lulu.

"These decisions are never made lightly. Lulu has an incurable form of cancer," said Zoo veterinarian Dr. Roy Burns. "Her condition was only going to worsen and cause her even more discomfort."

"Lulu will be missed. She was a special animal and a great ambassador for her threatened species in the remnant wild," said Louisville Zoo Director John Walczak.

Lulu shared an exhibit with 30 year-old "Sindi." The Zoo is in conversations with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan for Rhinos in determining the best direction for the future of rhinos and the Louisville Zoo.

Southern White Rhinos are from Southern Africa and can weigh between 4,000 to 6,000 pounds. White Rhinos have a median life expectancy of 34 years in a managed system. Lifespan in the remnant wild is not well known.

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