A critically endangered Sumatran rhinoceros gave birth Saturday at an Indonesian sanctuary -- only the fourth birth in captivity in more than a century -- a conservationist said.
"Ratu gave birth to a male baby at 00:45 (1745 GMT Friday) on Saturday. Both the mother and the baby are all very well," conservationist Widodo Ramono, who works at a sanctuary on the southern tip of Sumatra island, told AFP.
The last three in-captivity births for Sumatran rhinos took place in the United States at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio. Andalas, a male born in September 2001, was the first Sumatran rhino delivered in captivity in 112 years, according to the zoo.
And he was brought to Indonesia to mate with Ratu, a female who grew up in the wild but wandered out of the forest and now lives at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park.
Sumatran rhinos have suffered a 50 percent drop in population numbers over the past 20 years, largely due to poaching and loss of tropical habitat.
There are now believed to be fewer than 200 alive. Most reside in isolated pockets in Southeast Asia.
The US-based International Rhino Foundation said in a press release, published on Friday before the birth, that this would be the first birth of a Sumatran rhino at an Indonesian facility.
Ratu and Andalas were paired in 2009 at the sanctuary, two years after Andalas was brought from the Cincinnati zoo for a breeding programme.
The 12-year-old lost her first pregnancy after two months and her second after less than a month, the press release said. She gave birth after a 16-month pregnancy.
Poaching is one of the biggest killers of Sumatran rhinos, whose horns are reputed to have medicinal properties.
But rhinos have also suffered from the destruction of their habitat and, according to environmentalists, two million hectares of forests are lost every year in Indonesia.
Andalas is the only remaining male Sumatran rhino at the Way Kambas sanctuary since Torgamba, another male, died last year. The sanctuary has three female Sumatran rhinos.
Source: AFP Global Edition