After recent death of Najaq, a female Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis),  just before being rescued, a baby birth news certainly raises more hope on the existence of this extremely rare animal.

Ministry of Environment and Forestry announces that Ratu, a female Sumatran rhino, gave birth to a baby girl at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS), in Way Kambas National Park of Lampung, on Thursday (12/5), at 5.04 am.

Ratu was pictured breastfeeding her new calf. The female baby Sumatran rhino was born on Thursday (12/5) early morning. The unnamed calf is the second calf born at Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Lampung province. (Picture courtesy of Ministry of Environment and Forestry)

It is the second birth for Ratu (15 years old) with her mate, Andalas (15 years old) at the sanctuary. Their first calf, Andatu, was born in 2012 and marked the first success of breeding in captivity for Sumatran rhino after 124 years.

Sumatran rhino is listed as critically endangered species as its population has been declining drastically for the past decades. There is less than 100 individuals roaming around Sumatran forests and small part of Borneo island.

As a result, rhino experts and government treated Ratu’s pregnancy with great care and caution.

The labor process was attended by veterinary nurses and doctors led by Zulfi Arsan and Ni Made Ferawaty of SRS, team of doctors from Taronga Zoo of Australia, and White Oak Zoo of US, along with senior animal nurse of Cincinnati Zoo of US.

Learning from previous pregnancy, Ratu was given hormone supplements to strengthen her pregnancy. In addition, her types of food, variation, and volume were increased to meet her needs.

During her pregnancy, routine check ups with ultrasonography (USG) were done at least four times per month increased to four times per three days since April 2016.

Around 3 am, Ratu showed labor signs and finally gave birth to a female calf two hours later. The calf [still unnamed] had started to walk and breastfed after two hours of her birth. Ratu’s condition, stated by the ministry, was exhausted but generally doing well.

Getting a rhino to get pregnant is not an easy task. The animal is known for its recluse and solitary attitude making the mating process is challenging than ever. That, and also the fact that its numbers is closing to extinction. It’s like trying to set up two completely shy persons and hoping that they produce babies immediately. Yeah, right…!

However, you gotta hand it to conservationists with unlimited patience [and undeniably strong faith] to try it anyway. Well, of course, we do have to appreciate the efforts of Andalas and Ratu, who made it all happen. Let’s hope they’ll have more babies. And, eventually would give some hope to Sumatran rhino existence in the world. [Fidelis E. Satriastanti].