Critically endangered Sumatran rhino born in Indonesia

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

A Sumatran rhino calf has been born to a herd at Indonesia's Way Kambas National Park (stock image).
A Sumatran rhino calf has been born to a herd at Indonesia's Way Kambas National Park (stock image).  © 123RF/milena

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 55 pounds at Way Kambas National Park in Sumatra over the weekend, fathered by a rhino called Harapan.

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

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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," Bakar said.

Successful Sumatran rhino births are rare

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

IUCN classifies the Sumatran rhino, the smallest of all rhino species, as critically endangered.

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.

Cover photo: 123RF/milena

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