Rare Sumatran rhino dispatched to Asia with task of saving his species
by Andrew Buncombe
There are only 100 such animals in the world …
Go forth and procreate.
These are the instructions that have in effect been given to a rare Sumatran rhino, which is being dispatched to from Cincinnati Zoo to Indonesia with the task of trying to save his species.
Harapan, the only Sumatran rhino in the Western hemisphere, is being readied for the 30-hour journey, the date of which has not been made public. The rhino will join a breeding programme overseen by the Indonesian government.
The eight-year-old rhino will join his older brother Andalas, who has successfully mated at the Sumatran rhino sanctuary and lives with three females and his one male offspring born in 2012, the Associated Press said.
“No one wants to see Harry go,” Terri Roth, director of the zoo’s Centre for Conservation & Research of Endangered Wildlife, said in a statement.
“We’re attached, to say the least. We also know that giving him the opportunity to breed in Sumatra is the right thing to do for the species.”
Sumatran rhinos are incredibly rare and experts suggest their may only be 100 left in the world. The species has seen its numbers tumble by up to 90 per cent since the mid-1980s, the victim of poaching and habitat erosion. There are nine individuals in zoos around the world.
Harapan’s departure will end the Cincinnati Zoo’s captive breeding programme for the species that produced three rhinos.
Zoo officials said Harapan has undergone medical examinations and was being trained to walk into a specially made travel crate for the flight. People have been told they have until October 29 for once last chance to see him before he leaves.