First Sumatran rhino birth since 2016 at Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary
The first birth of Sumatran rhinos since 2016 at the facility represents hope for the species.
The Government of Indonesia announced the birth of a Sumatran rhino at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, Way Kambas National Park (SRS), Lampung Province on Thursday, March 24, 2022.
The Director General of Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MOEF), Wiratno, announced that the mother is Rosa and the father is Andatu, the first calf ever born at the rhino sanctuary. from Sumatra. The birth of Rosa’s cub brought the number of rhinos at the SRS to eight. In addition to Rosa, the other rhinos currently occupying the SRS are Bina (female), Ratu (female), Andalas (male), Harapan (male), Andatu (male), and Delilah (female).
“The birth of the Sumatran rhino is good news among the efforts of the Indonesian government and its partners to increase the Sumatran rhino population,” Wiratno said. “My deepest gratitude for the work of the team of veterinarians and caretakers who have continuously followed the development of Rhino Rosa’s pregnancy and postnatal care.”
The entire birth process, as well as the postnatal health of mother and calf, is overseen by a team of SRS veterinarians from the Indonesian Rhino Foundation (Yayasan Badak Indonesia, or YABI), led by Dr. Zulfi Arsan and including Dr. Ni Made Ferawati, Dr. Aprilia Widyawati and Dr. Vidi Saputra.
The SRS Vet team was also assisted by animal caretakers Sugiyanto, Soca Adi Fatoni and Lamijo. A team of veterinarians consisting of Dr. Dedi Candra from KSDAE Branch, Ministry of LHK, Dr. Diah Esti Anggraini from Gajah Balai Way Kambas National Park Hospital and Dr. Bongot Huaso Mulia from Taman Safari Indonesia were also on standby. for Rosa’s Childbirth and Postpartum Care. Support from the international community was also provided by Dr. Scott Citino of White Oak Conservation and senior animal keeper Paul Reinhart of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens to assist the SRS veterinary team as needed.
This birth was particularly significant because Rosa had lost eight pregnancies prior to this birth. Additionally, this is the first Sumatran rhino born to a parent, in this case Andatu, who was himself born under the conservation breeding program. “Rosa’s pregnancy represents new hope for this critically endangered species,” said Nina Fascione, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation (IRF). “Today’s announcement is the result of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry’s dedication to the Indonesian government‘s National Rhino Breeding Program.
In 1996, the IRF funded the construction of the 250-acre Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in partnership with YABI, which currently manages the SRS, MOEF, Way Kambas National Park, and Taman Safari International. “The Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park is the only place where the Sumatran rhino breeds naturally with the support of technology and the collaboration of expertise, both indoors and outdoors. outside the country. The SRS seeks to produce as many young Sumatran rhinos as possible under safe conditions to maintain the survival of the Sumatran rhino species which is now threatened with extinction,” said Wiratno.
The Story of Rosa The Mom
Unlike most Sumatran rhinos, Rosa exhibits none of the shy and solitary behaviors normally associated with her species. Beginning in late 2003, Rhino Protection Units (RPU) working in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in West Sumatra began receiving reports from local villagers that a young Sumatran rhino had frequently been observed walking along one of the main roads criss-crossing the park and browsing for vegetation. in villages around the park boundaries. These reports were extremely unusual – as a rule, Sumatran rhinos are shy and secretive, avoiding humans and their colonies at all costs, preferring to live in thick, isolated forests, and moving mostly at night. Rosa, however, has somehow grown accustomed to being around humans and has become extremely comfortable living and feeding in close proximity. Unfortunately, this unique behavior put her in danger.
Immediately after receiving the reports about Rosa, rhino protection units sprang into action and began following the rhino, looking for footprints, droppings, wallows and other typical signs. of rhinos. They soon found Rosa and a special unit was permanently assigned to observe and protect her.
After a number of discussions between Indonesian authorities, park officials, veterinarians and rangers, it was finally decided that Rosa’s behavior continued to put her in too much danger. In 2004, she was transferred to the SRS where she could be better protected. At the sanctuary, the rhinos reside in vast open forest areas where they can experience natural habitat while receiving state-of-the-art veterinary care and nutrition.
Rosa has adapted well to her life at the sanctuary and still displays all of the behaviors that make her so unique. It is a particularly noisy rhinoceros and vocalizes often, especially when people are nearby or when its usual feeding time is approaching. Rosa also likes to “sing” when she happily wallows in her mud holes.
The Story of Andatu The Dad
The father of this cub is Andatu, the first rhino born in captivity in Indonesia. Andatu is almost 10 years old and has recently reached sexual maturity. Its birth in 2012 was the historic culmination of strong international cooperation. Andatu’s father, Andalas, was born at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden on September 13, 2001 and came to Indonesia when he was six years old. Andatu’s mother, Ratu, was born in Way Kambas National Park, but wandered outside the park boundaries in 2005 and was brought to the SRS.
Andatu’s name is a combination of his parents’ names and means “Gift of God”. The second birth at SRS was her baby sister, Delilah, born in 2016. This newborn calf is Rosa and Andatu’s first offspring, greatly expanding the potential for the future of the conservation breeding program. The calf is also the third generation captive-born Sumatran rhinoceros, the first ever recorded for this species.
“With the birth of Rosa’s calf at SRS, we hope to continue to receive good news of other Sumatran rhino births in the future,” Wiratno concluded.
The IRF will continue to provide regular MOEF and SRS updates on Rosa and her cub via our website at Rhinos.org and social media.
“IRF would like to thank the Indonesian government, YABI, Sumatran Rhino Rescue, and our partners and donors around the world for working together to save the Sumatran rhino for future generations,” Fascione said. “This is a momentous occasion for a critically endangered species. We share the excitement of this birth with the world!