A rare baby rhino was welcomed into the world at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park, Indonesia, last week. The female calf was born to mother Rosa on March 24, who had been previously set up with a male named Andatu.
The new arrival brings the total number of Sumatran rhinos (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) at the sanctuary to eight. At the time of writing, Save The Rhino reports the total population of these animals to be less than 80, demonstrating the precious nature of such deliveries for the species.
Rosa’s calf joins her alongside the female rhinos Bina, Ratu, and Delilah as well as the male rhinos Andalas, Harapan, and Andatu.
The birth itself took around three hours, but a team was on hand at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary to keep an eye on the health of mother and baby until it was complete. Throughout her pregnancy, Rosa received additional help in the form of fetal-boosting hormones, routine ultrasound scans, and monitoring in an effort to secure the best outcome for her special pregnancy.
Rosa first came to the sanctuary back in 2004 after being regularly spotted hanging around near roads, gardens, and villages in the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park area. Her lack of fear around humans and traffic put her at risk of injury and illness, so she was translocated to the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary.
Rosa’s penchant for humans has unfortunately proven to be something of a barrier in her reproductive history, as the PPID KLHK (Ministry of Environment and Forestry) says she can be more comfortable around humans than other rhinos. Going such a long time without mating has led to her developing uterine fibroids, which can present a complication in fertility.
Hopefully, this success story is a sign of things to come at the sanctuary and a more positive future for the species.
"With the birth of the calf Rosa at [the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary], we hope to continue to receive happy news from the births of other Sumatran rhinos in the future," concluded the Director General of Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation’s Public Relations Bureau in a statement.
Sumatran rhino numbers have reached such a critical low largely due to human interference through habitat degradation and hunting, but these animals have had a rough time of it for several thousand years. Research from the Marshall University in West Virginia looked back on their history and concluded that Sumatran rhino numbers first dipped dramatically as a result of climate shift which occurred around 9,000 years ago, and they never got back on track.
Now, the species’ survival is dependent on the hard work of scientists, conservationists, and governments to try and secure more good news days like today, with the arrival of Rosa’s calf.