The last Sumatran rhinoceros in the US, called Harapan, has just been moved back to his ancestral roots in Indonesia in a fight to preserve this critically endangered species.
The eight-year-old has been living in Cincinnati Zoo, Ohio, US since he was born. Harapan travelled over 10,000 miles to get to the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park, Indonesia, last week. There it is hoped that he will mate with one or more of the three female Sumatran rhinoceros.
There are only 9 Sumatran rhinos remaining in captivity across the world, and it is feared that there are only a handful left in the wild. The rhinoceros is unique in having two horns and being hairy, a descendent of the wooly rhinoceros from the Ice Age. It is these characteristic features that have led to their demise since poachers kill them for their horns, many believing they have some sort of medicinal quality.
His journey to Indonesia took over 50 hours but zoo officials said that he was kept as comfortable as possible. The 1,800-pound rhino underwent medical checks and was trained to walk into a specially made travel crate and voluntarily remain there. Zoo keeper Paul Reinhart and veterinarian Jenny Nollman accompaniedHarapan, who hadsix cases of ficus along with bananas, apples and pears for his in-flight meals!
Harapan's older brother, Andalas, was taken to the same sanctuary a few years ago where he mated with one of the females there in 2012. Andalas still lives there with his one male offspring. We hope Harapan can follow in his brother's footsteps and save his species. A lot of pressure for a rhino who has just made one hell of a journey!
In 2013, conservationists and government officials met in Singapore for a Sumatran Rhino Crisis Summit to discuss ways to save the species. It was agreed that let alone breeding them, first and foremost, we have to tackle the people endangering them. If you want to help save these majestic creatures, you can support the association Save The Rhino here.
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