Rhinos Under the Radar: Introducing Andatu!

Earlier this month, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono officially declared 2012 the International Year of the Rhino.  And, while there is no official Father’s Day in Indonesia, Andalas the Sumatran rhino would probably choose June 23rd.  That’s the day his mate, Ratu, delivered their first calf and the first rhinoceros ever born in captivity in that country.

Andatu, soon after his birth on June 23rd, 2012

His name is Andatu and he entered the world under the light of the moon, which is not uncommon for rhinos and other wild creatures.  The name Andatu is a combination of both parents’ names.  Andalas is an Indonesian word denoting the island of Sumatra, while Ratu means Queen.  The baby’s name, which rolls so nicely off the tongue, is also a shortening of the Indonesian term “Anugerah Dari Tuhan” and quite fittingly translates as a “Gift from God”.

Ratu and Andatu getting some much needed rest together.

About sixty pounds soaking wet – which he was – the young rhino displayed signs of good health right from the start.  He eagerly began nursing from his mother in the customized boma (enclosure) that was constructed especially for this event, where both animals will have controlled access to the forest while being monitored 24 hours a day via closed-circuit cameras.  Mom will continue to feed on a varied diet of native tropical forest plants and fruits, while baby will suckle milk from her that is apparently lower in solids, proteins and fats than horse, cow or deer milk, but higher in sugar content.  Slowly but surely, Andatu will also sample the surrounding vegetation and learn to identify different solid foods, but he won’t be fully weaned from mother’s milk for at least a year.

One of the first times that Andatu nursed.

If Andatu follows in his father’s footsteps, we can expect him to bulk up in short order.  Andalas was close to a half-a-ton by the time he turned one, and today he’s nearly double that – a little more than the weight of a Smart Car.  Both father and son began life at about twice the weight of the average bicycle, but packaged much more compactly.

Andatu exploring with attentive mother, Ratu, always nearby

Assisting the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary’s veterinarian, Dr. Dedi Candra, with the birth were Australian veterinarian Dr. Benn Bryant of the Taronga Conservation Society and Paul Reinhart, a rhino keeper at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden who has assisted with three other captive Sumatran rhino births before this one.  IRF’s executive director, Dr. Susie Ellis, was also on hand for the delivery and took advantage of this rare opportunity to harvest valuable stem cells from the placenta.

Andatu’s birth offers renewed hope for the future of Sumatran rhinos, whose numbers in the wild have dwindled to 200 or less.  Managed breeding at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary and other special facilities is an integral component in the global management of this species.

16 thoughts on “Rhinos Under the Radar: Introducing Andatu!

  1. Hey, Im a keeper and i LOOOOOVE rhinos! I have been following this pregnancy and was delighted wit hthe birth. Andatu is so cute. I met his grandparents Emi and Ipuh in Cincinnati in 2009 as well as his aunt Suci, it was an honour to be alongside Paul and the team. Well done to you all.

  2. today i am here because i have heard that RHINO’S are becoming fewer and fewer everyday because poachers are killing them for horns, that is why i Sydney am trying to save the rhino’s and put them away from danger.

  3. i think that people who poach are realy dumb because rhinos have feelings too. it is so sad that thousands of rhinos die every year.

  4. hi my name is siobhan . i am 11 and go to brook house school. save rhinos so that my generation is not thinking of rhinos as a lost memory. the rhinos are beatiful creatures and i love them with all my heart. i live in kenya and anyone else who reads this and lives here, please help freinds of nairobi national park. or fonnap.

  5. i am here today because rhinos are being killed by poachers for their horns,and i just want to save the rhinos today my name is sydney ,age 11, and date of birth 08/15/2000.

  6. Per Dr Kees Rookmaaker, we are posting this plea on this message board with the hopes everyone will help us spread the word.

    We are a nonprofit organization called One More Generation (OMG) which was founded by two elementary students back in 2009. The goal of our young founders is to help save endangered species and clean up our environment for at least One More Generation… and beyond.

    OMG founders Olivia (age 10) and her brother Carter (age 11.5) are working on a letter writing campaign where they are trying to get 1,000 kids (and adults) from all over the world to send us letters addressed to the President of South Africa asking him to get more involved with stopping poaching of Rhino’s for their horn.

    Unless the South African government quickly gets involved, the Rhino species is guaranteed to go extinct in our lifetime. This is an amazing opportunity to show kids (and adults) of all ages that they can make a difference, and if successful they can someday tell their kids that they were instrumental in saving this species from extinction.

    You can read more on our site at the link below. Our goal is to collect 1,000 letters and personally deliver them to the President of SA early next year. Carter and Olivia are already scheduling presentations at various schools when they are back in session and we are also looking to reach out to churches and any other community group where we can address a large audience. If you know of any organization who might be interested in receiving a copy of the presentation, please let us know and we can easily sent it to them.

    Dear President Zuma, (http://onemoregeneration.org/2012/07/20/dear-president-zuma/)

    I am reaching out to you in the hopes that you could possibly connect us with zoos and or other organizations who might be willing to help us out. Maybe you might consider posting this on your website or even sending us a letter yourself.

    Please let us know if you think you can help in any way. We also encourage your staff to send us a letter as well because as you know, every voice counts.

    Thanks in advance for your consideration and support, we look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best regards from the entire OMG Team 😉

    Jim

  7. Hi I am in a Rhino project. We are trying to save the rhinos. We were researching Andatu. I got a lot of info from this great blog. Thanks guys

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