A female rhinoceros died on Thursday at Wildlands zoo in Emmen.

She was so startled by a new male rhinoceros that she slipped, ended up in a pool of water, and drowned.

The 19-year-old male white rhinoceros Limpopo arrived in Wildlands in early September as part of a breeding program.

He had to take care of offspring with the already present females Zahra and Elena.

Since then, the three have gotten to know each other a bit by seeing and smelling each other in their own part of the stable.

Thursday followed the first physical acquaintance on the savannah.

However, both rhino females were so startled by Limpopo that they ran off.

Limpopo gave chase to Elena, who was closest to him.

After fifteen minutes of running, both animals were exhausted.

Elena probably slipped from fatigue and ended up on her side in a shallow pool of water.

Zookeepers first had to lure Limpopo away from the waterhole, which took a while.

They arrived too late to save Elena from drowning.

The event made a big impression on the zookeepers, let the zoo know.

It is still unknown what consequences the incident will have for the breeding program.