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Birth of rare rhino sparks hope for species

Words by Smiley Team

A rare Sumatran rhino has been born at an Indonesian sanctuary for the first time in ten years.

The rhino’s mother, named Rosa, gave birth in the Way Kambas National Park in the Lampung Province on March 24.

The Sumatran rhino is the most endangered rhinoceros species and the population has decreased by more than 70% in 20 years.

Although once found all across Southeast Asia, today there are only about 80 Sumatran rhinos left, all in Indonesia’s Sumatra and Borneo islands.

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The rhinos have been badly affected by habitat loss and fragmentation, meaning the remaining have limited possibilities to find each other to breed, which continues population decline.

So the rare birth has sparked hope for the species, bringing the total number of Sumatran rhinos in the sanctuary to eight.

“The birth of the Sumatran rhino is good news amid the efforts of the Indonesian government and partners to increase the Sumatran rhino population”, says Wiratno, the director general of conservation at the environment ministry. 

Rosa, the rhino mother, had miscarried eight times in recent years, making her successful birth even more groundbreaking.  

The environment ministry in Indonesia and the Kambas national park partnered in 1998 on a captive reproduction program for the nearly-extinct Sumatran rhinos.

Wiratno says that the park is now the only viable place where the natural breeding of Sumatran rhinos can take place “with the support of technology and collaboration of expertise both from within and outside the country.”

“Rosa’s pregnancy represents new hope for this Critically Endangered species,” says Nina Fascione, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation

Black and Javan rhinos are also critically endangered, with only around 30,000 total rhinoceros existing across all species. 

Inspired to act?

LEARN: WWF has a full list of endangered and vulnerable animal species across the globe and links to how you can help. 

DONATE: Adopt a rhino from £3 a month to help protect and encourage a healthy rhino population in Meru National Park.


This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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