CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Cincinnati Zoo's first Sumatran rhino calf has produced the first Sumatran rhino pregnancy in Southeast Asia for the global captive breeding program.
Andalas and his mate, Ratu, both 8-years-old, were brought together through international goodwill and cooperation in an effort to save this critically endangered species. Now, scientists at the Cincinnati Zoo are joining conservationists around the globe, celebrating the rare pregnancy.
In 2001, Andalas became the first Sumatran rhino born in captivity in 112 years. Six years later, he journeyed across the world, more than 10,000 miles and 63 hours by plane, truck and ferry, with a very important mission: to breed successfully with the female rhinos at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in the Way Kambas National Park in Indonesia.
Ratu, a native Indonesian, wandered into a village just outside the Way Kambas Park and was brought to the Sanctuary to keep her safe. The pair have been getting to know one another through sight, sound, smell and other ways in which only rhinos can ascertain, ever since. And now, Andalas and Ratu are expecting a large 75 pound calf in May 2011.
The two rhinos will remain at the 250-acre complex built and supported by the International Rhino Foundation (IRF). The sanctuaryhouses five rhinos that are part of an intensively managed research and breeding program aimed at contributing to the conservation of the species in the wild.
"The Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary has been encouraged by Cincinnati Zoo's success," said Widodo Ramono, executive director of the Indonesian Rhino Foundation. "Our staff has diligently applied the Cincinnati Zoo's methodology, especially ultra-sonographic techniques, to achieve this result."
The Cincinnati Zoo is the only place in the world to successfully breed this critically endangered species in captivity.
"Sumatran rhinos are very solitary by nature and very aggressive towards one another except when a female is in estrus," said Dr. Terri Roth, Director of Cincinnati Zoo's Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) and vice president for IRF's Asia programs. "Through science we can determine when the female is ready to ovulate so that she is paired with a male at the right time and fighting is minimized while the likelihood of conception is optimized. It is wonderful to see the science developed at CREW help our Indonesian colleagues achieve success in the forest of Sumatra."
Copyright 2010 WXIX-TV and Raycom Media. All Rights Reserved.