11/23/2015 12:10 EST | Updated 11/23/2015 12:59 EST

Rare White Rhino Dies At San Diego Zoo

Following the death of Nola the Northern White Rhino at the San Diego Zoo, only three Northern White Rhinos remain in the world.

Nola, who was transferred to the San Diego Zoo from the Czech Republic in 1989, had been under medical care since September. The 41-year-old rhino also underwent surgery for a chronic infection earlier this month. Though initial reports stated that Nola was returning to her normal habits following the surgery, the zoo announced via Facebook that Nola was euthanized after a bacterial infection developed.

It is with profound sadness we announce that 41-year-old Nola, one of only 4 remaining northern white rhinos, has died....

Posted by San Diego Zoo Safari Park on Sunday, November 22, 2015

Northern White Rhinos are at extreme risk due in part to poaching. Only three of the species remain under 24/7 watch at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.

Though the future of this species looks very bleak, researchers at the San Diego Zoo and Ol Pejeta Conservancy have been studying rhinos genetic makeup and are hopeful their stem cell research will lead to surrogate pregnancies.

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