Rare rhino pregnancy gives hope to species

Andalas-Ratu love story proves conservation efforts can work!

Ratu the Sumatran Rhino

Conservationists across the world are celebrating a pregnancy in one of the world’s most endangered species, the Sumatran rhino. The pregnancy of female Ratu, born in Indonesia, and male Andalas, the first of only three Sumatran rhinos born in captivity in more than 112 years, is giving hope to international rhino biologists. The breeding occurred at Indonesia’s Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park after international efforts led to the pair’s introduction. The calf is expected to be born in May 2011.

This is no ordinary pregnancy. Andalas and Ratu were brought together through international goodwill and cooperation in an effort to save this critically endangered species. Ratu wandered into a village just outside Sumatra’s Way Kambas National Park in 2006; Andalas was born at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in 2001, grew up at the Los Angeles Zoo and was transferred from the L.A. Zoo to the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in 2007. With help from Dr. Robin Radcliffe of the International Rhino Foundation’s (IRF) Rhino Conservation Medicine Program, the then-5 ½-year-old Andalas journeyed more than 10,000 miles on a 63-hour trip by plane, truck and ferry. Prior to his departure, he was vaccinated to protect him from diseases he would soon face in the rainforests of his native habitat.

Three years after Andalas’ successful transition, he and Ratu mated. The breeding followed months of gradual introduction by scent, sound, sight, and finally, physical proximity, ultimately resulting in the pregnancy.

Read more about this exciting development and check back on this page to see updates on Ratu’s pregnancy.

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