Indonesia welcomes birth of critically endangered Sumatran rhino

A Sumatran rhino has been born in western Indonesia, officials said on Monday, a rare sanctuary birth for the critically endangered animal with only several dozen believed to be left in the world.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimate the population of Sumatran rhinos to number less than 80 on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo.

A female rhino named Delilah gave birth to a yet-to-be-named male calf weighing 25kg (55 pounds) at Way Kambas National Park in Sumatra over the weekend, fathered by a rhino called Harapan.

An official looks after the two-day-old Sumatran rhino calf at Way Kambas National Park. Photo: Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry Handout via AFP

It was the fifth calf born under a semiwild breeding programme at the park, Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said in a statement.

The new addition to the Sumatran rhino herd at Way Kambas, which numbers 10, comes after another baby Sumatran rhino was born there in September.

“This birth is the second birth of the Sumatran rhino in 2023. This further strengthens the government’s commitment to rhino conservation in Indonesia,” the minister said.

Malaysia mourns loss of species after last male Sumatran rhino dies

A conservation guard found Delilah lying next to her newborn calf on Saturday, the ministry statement said.

The father, Harapan, is a former resident of Cincinnati Zoo in the United States and was born there in 2007. Harapan became a resident in the park in 2015, after he was repatriated to Indonesia.

Harapan was the last Sumatran rhino outside Indonesia that was repatriated, and there are no more Sumatran rhinos living elsewhere except in Indonesia, the ministry said.

Successful births are rare. A male rhino named Andatu, born in 2012 at Way Kambas, was the first Sumatran rhino birthed in an Indonesian sanctuary in more than 120 years.


Critically endangered Sumatran rhino born in captivity in Indonesia

Critically endangered Sumatran rhino born in captivity in Indonesia

IUCN classifies the Sumatran rhino, the smallest of all rhino species, as critically endangered due to poaching and its natural habitat shrinking amid massive deforestation.

Multiple threats have brought them to the brink of extinction, including poaching and climate change.

Rhino horn is often illegally traded for traditional Chinese medicine.

Indonesia is also racing to save another critically endangered species, the Javan rhino, with fewer than 80 alive today.

Additional reporting by dpa

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