Rare birth of Sumatran rhinoceros in Indonesian reserve

The Ministry of Environment in Jakarta announced that a Sumatran rhinoceros was bred in an Indonesian reserve for an organized breeding program to preserve this species in grave danger of extinction.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) estimates that there are fewer than 80 Sumatran rhinos left in the world, which live mainly on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and Borneo, an island shared by the Sultanate of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

A rhinoceros, Rosa, gave birth to a female on Thursday in Sumatra’s Way Kambas National Park, having had eight miscarriages since 2005, when she was captured for a breeding programme.

“The birth of this Sumatran rhinoceros is great news in the context of the efforts of the government and its partners to increase the population of this species,” the environment ministry said in a statement.

The newborn, whose first name has not yet been given, brings the number of Sumatran rhinos in Kambas Park to eight.

Births are very rare. Andatu, the newborn’s father, was the first rhinoceros to be born in the reserve in more than 120 years.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies the smallest species of rhinoceros, the Sumatran rhinoceros, as ‘critically endangered’.

Their numbers continue to decline due to increasing pressure from hunting for their habitat loss and illegal trade in their horns, especially used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Indonesia is also fighting to save another endangered species, the Javan rhinoceros.

These rhinos were once counted in the thousands in Southeast Asia, away from India and China. Today, there are less than 80 left, mostly in a national park on the Indonesian island of Java.

Conservation efforts for the species have shown promising results, with the birth of five cubs in Ujung Kulon National Park in 2021.

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