As conservationists work to save the critically endangered Sumatran rhino, good news arrived in the form of a healthy baby born just this week. The female calf was delivered at Indonesia’s Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary. The baby is a huge win for conservationists, since fewer than 100 of these magnificent creatures are still alive on the planet.
14-year-old rhino Ratu had the calf, who weighs around 45 pounds and has been active so far. The father, Andalas, hails from the Cincinnati Zoo. It’s Ratu’s second baby; back in 2012 she delivered a male, Andatu. According to the International Rhino Foundation (IRF), the new calf is the second baby born “in an Indonesian facility in more than 128 years.” Ratu received a daily hormone supplement to help ensure the baby’s safe birth; the same that Andalas’ mother received.
At the sanctuary, veterinarians, international experts, and keepers monitored Ratu during the time leading up to her delivery. The Cincinnati Zoo pioneered many of the methods they employed. Head veterinarian Dr. Zulfi Arsan reported that during the first hour of life, the new baby stood up, and within two hours started to nurse.
IRF Executive Director Susie Ellis said, “We are overjoyed that Ratu delivered a healthy calf and are cautiously optimistic that the calf will continue to thrive. She’s absolutely adorable, and we haven’t stopped smiling since the moment we were sure she was alive and healthy. While one birth does not save the species, it’s one more Sumatran rhino on Earth.”
The IRF states there are less than 100 Sumatran rhinos alive. They face deforestation and poaching, making it hard for them to thrive safely in the wild. The IRF started the sanctuary back in 1997. They also run Rhino Protection Units in couple of the habitats that remain for Sumatran rhinos in an attempt to protect these creatures.
Images courtesy of the International Rhino Foundation, © Stephen Belcher/Canon/IRF/YABI