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Critically Endangered Rhino Species Gives Birth

The birth of a Sumatran rhino, the most threatened rhinoceros species globally, is being celebrated at an Indonesian sanctuary.

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The Indonesian government said on Sunday that a healthy male calf had been born on Saturday in the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary at Way Kambas National Park in the province of Lampung. According to the statement from Indonesia’s Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya, the young rhino is the first for both his father, Harapan, a male Sumatran rhino born at the Cincinnati Zoo, and his mother, Delilah.

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Less than 80 Sumatran rhinos are thought to exist on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo, according to estimates from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

According to a ministry statement, Delilah was discovered by a conservation guard on Saturday, sleeping near her newborn calf. Good births are not common. The first baby rhino born in an Indonesian sanctuary in over a century was a male named Andatu, who was born in Way Kambas in 2012. The smallest rhino species, the Sumatran rhino, is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN.

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

The park’s semi-wild breeding program has produced five calves to date, according to a statement from Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Minister, Siti Nurbaya Bakar. The September birth of another baby Sumatran rhino at Way Kambas precedes the arrival of the newest member of the herd. Now, ten rhinos are in the herd.

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Directly supporting the diminishing natural population of Sumatran rhinos is the ultimate aim of the breeding program, according to Satyawan Pudyatmoko, director general of the Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation division of the Indonesian Ministry of Forests. According to Pudyatmoko, rhinos born at the refuge may eventually be returned to their native environments.

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