It’s always great news when a new baby animal is born, but it’s especially great when they’re a member of a critically endangered species. Each new arrival is a crucial step towards ensuring the species’ survival for future generations.
Now, animal lovers across the world are celebrating the news that a baby Sumatran rhino — an extremely rare, critically endangered species — was recently born at a sanctuary in Indonesia.
According to a press release from the Government of Indonesia, Sumatran rhino Delilah gave birth to her first calf on November 25 at Way Kambas National Park in Lampung Province.
The newborn is a male and reported to be in good health. The baby’s father is Harapan, who was born at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, who is now a first time dad.
According to the press release, Delilah is the first captive-born Sumatran rhino to give birth, a major milestone in the breeding program. Born in 2016, Delilah was the second calf born at Way Kambas’ Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary.
“You never know if a first-time mom will know what to do, but Delilah brought that calf into the world and started nursing it with no fuss or fanfare,” said Nina Fascione, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation. “It’s an incredible event that gives hope to the future of this critically endangered species.”
The Sumatran rhino is the smallest rhino species and the only Asian rhino with two horns. They are a critically endangered species, with a population of fewer than 40 individuals in the world, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
They have long been hurt by poaching (they are coveted for their horns) as well as habitat loss and fragmentation: once numerous throughout Southeast Asia, they exist in the wild only in the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo.
But the sanctuary has had success breeding Sumatran rhinos in captivity, with the hopes that rhinos born at the sanctuary could be released back into their natural habitat.
They’ve had a lot to celebrate in recent weeks: Delilah’s calf marks the second rhino birth in two months at the SRS; a mother rhino named Ratu gave birth to a female calf on September 30. There are now reportedly ten Sumatran rhinos living at the sanctuary.
“The Sumatran rhino breeding program has never been in a better position,” Nina Fascione said. “Two years ago there was only one captive Sumatran rhino pair in the world able to successfully produce offspring. Now there are three pairs – six rhinos – who are proven breeders. Those are much better odds for the long-term survival of this species.”
What incredible news for this critically endangered species — we’re so glad this beautiful newborn is doing well with his mom and inspiring hope ❤️🦏
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