Endangered Sumatran rhinoceros gives birth to new calf – The.jpgw1440

Endangered Sumatran rhinoceros gives birth to new calf – The Washington Post

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A Sumatran rhino was born in Indonesia on Saturday, the latest calf in an endangered species with fewer than 50 living members.

The male calf, born to a mother named Delilah, is the second species to be born this year – both within the last two months – at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park on the western Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is part of a government-backed effort to conserve the critically endangered species. The still unnamed male was the fifth rhino to be born in the sanctuary since 2012.

Delilah gave birth alone, 10 days before her due date. She went into labor overnight and was found by shelter staff in the forest with her calf about four hours after the birth, Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry said in a statement.

The early birth surprised shelter staff, who discovered Delilah nursing Saturday morning, the International Rhino Foundation said. The calf is standing, walking and nursing and weighs about 55 pounds, the department said. Mother and child are being monitored and are in good condition.

“Both are healthy and doing exactly what they need to do – eating, resting and socializing,” said a statement from the foundation, which established the sanctuary in 1996 with the Indonesian government and local groups.

Delilah, who was born in the sanctuary in 2016, is the first mother rhino to give birth and give birth in the sanctuary, the government said in a statement on Tuesday. The International Rhino Foundation called it “a significant milestone for the breeding program.” Two years ago, only one pair of captive Sumatran rhinos in the world were able to successfully reproduce, the group said; The sanctuary now has three pairs of successful breeders.

Delilah mated with a male rhino named Harapan, who previously lived at the Cincinnati Zoo and was brought to the sanctuary in 2015 in hopes of breeding. He was the last Sumatran rhinoceros to live outside of Southeast Asia.

Delilah became pregnant immediately after mating, the ministry said, a fortunate outcome after some breeding attempts between other rhinos ended in miscarriages. It was also the first success for Harapan after eight years of attempts, the International Rhino Foundation said.

Delilah gave birth on day 460 of her pregnancy, earlier than the usual 470 to 479 days. It was the second in two months: On September 30th, a female calf from a different set of parents was born at the animal shelter.

“Each of these births was the result of years of hard work and international research and collaboration – and they represent our best hope for saving Sumatran rhinos from extinction,” the International Rhino Foundation said.

The species is listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, which is the final step before extinction in the wild. The group estimates that wild populations continue to decline and there are only 30 living adults left.

Sumatran rhinos are the smallest of the five rhino species and – descendants of the woolly rhinos of the Ice Age – the hairiest. They have the smallest population of the five species, although Javan rhinos also have fewer than 100 members.

According to the conservation group Save the Rhino, Sumatran rhinos have two horns, distinctive skin folds and a prehensile upper lip. They are agile, fast runners and eat vegetation.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, rhinos are now only found in Indonesia, where wild populations are small and have difficulty reproducing. The last surviving member of the species in its native Malaysia died in 2019 at the age of 25, making the species extinct in that country.