Rare Rhino Caught on Camera Trap

Park authorities at Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia were able to capture video footage of Javan rhinoceroses going about their business using camera traps. These rhinos are considered critically endangered by the IUCN Red List. Only 40-60 Javan rhinos are alive today, with the majority of the population living in Ujung Kulon National Park. There are no Javan rhinos in captivity.

Baby Rhino Makes His Public Debut

Eastern black rhinos

King, with his mother Kapuki by his side, makes his public debut. Photo by Todd Rosenberg/Lincoln Park Zoo

Newly-named Eastern black rhinoceros calf, King, made his public debut today at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The baby rhino, who already weighs in at 200 pounds, thrilled zoo-goers as he trotted out into the Harris Family Foundation Black Rhinoceros Exhibit, exploring the sights and scents. He and his mother Kapuki had been bonding behind the scenes since his birth on August 26.

In the wild, Eastern black rhinos are critically endangered due to poaching. It is estimated that there are only 5000 left in the wild in Africa.

King and Kapuki, rhinos at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

After a few timid steps, King gained confidence in the outdoor exhibit, taking in all the new sights and scents. Photo by Todd Rosenberg/Lincoln Park Zoo.

“Breeding programs at zoos are of crucial importance to the survival of these remarkable animals, particularly as the numbers in the wild continue to dwindle,” said Lincoln Park Zoo Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “King will serve as an excellent ambassador for his species.”

For more information, see the Lincoln Park Zoo website.

Rare Sumatran Rhino Calf Born

On June 23, Ratu, a rare Sumatran rhino living at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia, gave birth to a healthy male calf who weighs between 60 and 70 pounds.

“We are overjoyed that Ratu delivered a healthy calf and are cautiously optimistic that the calf will continue to thrive,” said Dr. Susie Ellis, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation. “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.”

Ratu had miscarried two calves prior to this pregnancy, but this time, sanctuary staff gave her a hormone supplement that prevented her from miscarrying again. (Read all our posts about Ratu here.)

With fewer than 200 Sumatran rhinos living in Indonesia and Malaysia, this birth is a significant step in preserving the population. They face threats such as continuing loss of their tropical forest habitat and hunting.

For more information, see the International Rhino Foundation website.

Rare Sumatran Rhino is Pregnant

Ratu the Sumatran rhino

Ratu, a rare Sumatran rhino, is pregnant!

In February 2010, we posted about Ratu, a rare Sumatran rhino, being pregnant. Unfortunately, she miscarried after two months. However, the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia has announced that Ratu is pregnant again! Currently, she is in her eleventh month of gestation. Her pregnancy will most likely last another four or five months.

To help prevent Ratu from miscarrying again, sanctuary staff give her a hormone supplement daily. Within the sanctuary, she is free to roam and graze in a large forested area with natural plants and mud, just as she would in the wild.

Ratu was originally a wild rhino. She was taken into the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, which offers 250 acres of protected land, after coming in contact with villagers nearby. Andalas, who mated with Ratu last year to produce this recent pregnancy, was a captively-bred rhino from the Cincinnati Zoo.

Sumatran rhinos are in grave danger of becoming extinct. According to the International Rhino Foundation:

The Sumatran rhino is one of the world’s most critically endangered species, numbering no more than 200 individuals in Indonesia and Malaysia. The species is seriously threatened by the continuing loss of its tropical forest habitat and hunting pressure from poachers, who kill rhinos for their valuable horns. Every Sumatran rhino birth – in the wild, in a zoo or in a special sanctuary – represents hope for the survival of this species, which runs the risk of going extinct by the end of this century.

Learn more at the International Rhino Foundation website.

World Rhino Day

Indian RhinocerosSeptember 22nd, 2011 is World Rhino Day! Rhinos around the world are in trouble, with only 27,000 rhinos left. The main cause for the population decline is from poachers, who sell the horns for Asian medicines.

However, according to Susie Ellis, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation, the world rhino populations can still be saved if we can find ways to stop poaching.

“After so much effort and funding has been ploughed into rhino protection in Africa, we cannot lose the momentum. We look to each country’s national authorities to hold up their side of our shared commitment to conserve rhinos,” Ellis asserted in a press release.

“We know how to bring these species numbers back up.  But we have to get poaching and other human-induced losses under control. Along with all of our partners, we hope to call attention to the good, the bad and the hopeful news through World Rhino Day this Thursday.”

Learn about the Indian Rhinoceros on Animal Fact Guide.

Vulnerable Indian Rhinos Moved to New Habitat

Indian rhinos

Two female Indian rhinos leave their crate for their new home in Manas National Park in Assam, India. Photo credit: Dipankar Ghose, WWF-India

Two female Indian rhinoceroses – one adult and one juvenile – have been successfully translocated from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary to Manas National Park (both situated in Assam, India).  Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary has a very dense population of rhinos in its 18 square kilometers (4,450 acres) of rhino habitat, so by moving some of its population to another park, conservationists hope to regrow a viable rhino population in Manas National Park.

The operation of relocating the animals was no small task. According to the International Rhino Foundation:

Under the guidance of veterinarians, field workers, park guards, conservationists and forest department officials, the two animals were captured and released within 24 hours.  Veterinarians darted the animals with tranquilizers, then transported them 250 km in crates specially-designed to hold the 1.5 to 2 ton pachyderms.

The successful translocation was made possible by a collaboration among the government of Assam, the International Rhino Foundation, the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Bodoland Territorial Council, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.  Their project, the Indian Rhino Vision (IRV) 2020, aims to attain a population of 3,000 wild rhinos in seven of Assam’s protected areas by the year 2020.  The conservationists plan to relocate 16 more animals in 2011.

For more information, visit the International Rhino Foundation.

You can also learn more about Indian rhinos on Animal Fact Guide.

Rare Javan Rhino Dies

The International Rhino Foundation announced that a carcass of a highly endangered Javan rhino was discovered in Indonesia’s Ujung Kulon National Park last week.

From the press release:

Ujung Kulon holds the only viable population of the critically endangered species; no more than 48 Javan rhinos remain on the planet, and at least 44 of those are found in Ujung Kulon.  Fewer than four animals of unknown sex and age may remain in an isolated population in Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam, where the carcass of a poached Javan rhino was found last month.

“Javan rhinos persist in Ujung Kulon because they are carefully monitored and guarded by Rhino Protection Units, elite anti-poaching teams that patrol the park every day.  While the loss of this rhino was tragic, it appears to have died from natural causes rather than poaching,” said Dr. Susie Ellis, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation.

Ellis went on to say, “Rhino experts agree that expanding the usable habitat in Ujung Kulon is an important first step. The next priority will be to establish a second viable population of Javan rhino at a suitable site elsewhere in Indonesia as an ‘insurance’ population. This will be essential if we are to safeguard it from natural and human-caused disasters and to ultimately prevent its extinction.”

If you would like to help Javan rhinoceroses, visit www.rhinos-irf.org.

Rhino skeleton

Skeleton of a male Javan rhino found last week on a densely forested trail in Indonesia's Ujung Kulon National Park. Forensic evidence suggests he died in March of natural causes.

Rhino bones laid out

The skeleton of the rhino laid out, with the horn still intact.

Sumatran Rhino is Pregnant

Ratu, a Sumatran  rhinoceros, is pregnant. This is newsworthy because Sumatran rhinos are endangered and births in captivity are incredibly rare. Ratu’s mate, Andalas, was the third Sumatran rhino born in captivity in 112 years. If all goes well, Ratu’s baby will be the fourth.

Sumatran rhinos are the most endangered of all rhinoceros species. Their numbers have decreased due to habitat loss and human poaching.

To read more about Ratu, visit CNN.com.

To read about the Indian rhinoceros, a relative of the Sumatran rhino, visit Animal Fact Guide.

Baby Rhino to be Raised by Hand

babyrhino

The German town of Munster is the home of newly-born female rhinoceros. The unnamed baby rhino was at risk of being killed by her mother, who killed her previous two babies. Minutes after birth, the mother rhino acted aggressive toward the baby. This prompted the zoo staff to intervene and the decision was made to hand raise her. Baby rhinos need near constant help; they are fed gallons of milk each day and need to be stroked and given physical contact.

For more, visit Spiegel Online.