The new baby has been named “Andatu” which means “Gift from God” in Bahasa, and is also a combination of his parents’ names, Andalas and Ratu.
Andalas, the calf’s father, was born in 2001 at the Cincinnati Zoo, and sent to the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in 2007 in hopes that he would breed with the resident females. Ratu was brought to the safety of the sanctuary in 2005, after she was discovered wandering outside the forest.
Andatu is the only the fourth Sumatran rhino born in a managed breeding facility, and the first in an Indonesian facility.
“The little guy is absolutely adorable, and none of us has been able to stop smiling since the moment we were sure he was alive and healthy. We have been waiting for this moment since the sanctuary was built in 1998. The International Rhino Foundation is honored to play an important role in protecting rhinos. We are hopeful the Sumatran rhino population will thrive once again,” said Dr. Susie Ellis, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation.
A closed-circuit television system for the birthing area, in addition to hand-held video cameras, were provided by the IRF, so the entire event was filmed.
In order to keep Ratu calm, only Dr. Dedi Candra, SRS veterinarian and collection manager, Dr. Benn Bryant, veterinarian at Taronga Conservation Society Australia and Cincinnati Zoo keeper Paul Reinhart, who attended all three Sumatran rhino births, were allowed in the birthing area as the big moment drew closer.
Watch Ratu giving birth to Andatu:
Dr. Candra said that Ratu is “very good mother”.
She gave birth after two hours of second-stage labor and several days of restlessness. The calf stood in about an hour and began nursing almost immediately. Ratu is a very good mother.
Andatu playing in water (listen for the squeak at :50!):
Andatu investigating a twig:
Fewer than 200 Sumatran rhinos are still surviving, and they exist only in protected areas where they are physically guarded by Rhino Protection Units.
To learn more about IRF and how you can help ensure the future of Sumatran rhinos, visit the IRF website at rhinos.org.
Rhishja is the founder of Annamiticus, a nonprofit organization which provides educational information and news about wildlife crime and endangered species. She is the Editor of the blogs Annamiticus, Rhino Horn is Not Medicine, and Project Pangolin, a Producer for the upcoming documentary "The Price", author of the book "Murder, Myths & Medicine", and host of the "Behind the Schemes" podcast. When Rhishja is not blogging about the illegal wildlife trade, she enjoys rocking out to live music.