Critically Endangered Sumatran Rhino Born in Indonesia

There are fewer than 80 left in the wild and only nine in captivity.

Sumatran rhino mom and calf

Biro Humas / KLHK

The most endangered rhinoceros has added a new member to the family.

A Sumatran rhino calf was born at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, Way Kambas National Park (SRS) in Lampung Province, Indonesia. The calf was born to mother Rosa and father Andatu, and is the first calf ever born at the sanctuary. There are now eight rhinos at the SRS.

"The birth of the Sumatran rhino is good news amid the efforts of the Indonesian government and partners to increase the Sumatran rhino population," Wiratno, the director general of natural resources and ecosystem conservation of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MOEF), said in a statement. “My deep gratitude for the work of the team of veterinarians and keepers who have continuously monitored the development of rhino Rosa's pregnancy and postnatal care.”

The Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is classified as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. It is one of five species of rhinos left today.

It’s estimated that there are fewer than 80 Sumatran rhinos left in the wild, with the population having declined more than 80% over the last 30 years. There are only nine in captivity, including eight in Indonesia and one in Malaysia.

“Because the remaining population of Sumatran rhinos is so small, every individual makes a huge difference—and working with the Government of Indonesia and local partners, we will do everything possible to ensure the future of this species that Rosa and her calf represent,” Nina Fascione, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation (IRF), tells Treehugger.

Sanctuary's Conservation Program

Sumatran rhino calf

Biro Humas / KLHK

The birth of the female calf was especially noteworthy because Rosa had lost eight pregnancies before this one. In addition, this is the first Sumatran rhino born from a parent (Andatu) who was also part of the conservation breeding program.

The 250-acre Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary was founded in 1996 by the IRF in partnership with several organizations including the Indonesian Rhino Foundation (Yayasan Badak Indonesia, or YABI), the MOEF, Way Kambas National Park, and Taman Safari International.

At the sanctuary, rhinos live in large, open forest areas where they have a natural habitat while still receiving veterinary care and nutrition.

“The Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park is the only place for the Sumatran rhino to breed naturally with the support of technology and collaboration of expertise, both from within and outside the country,” said Wiratno.

“The SRS seeks to produce as many young Sumatran rhinos as possible, according to safe conditions to maintain the survival of the Sumatran rhino species which is now threatened with extinction.”

In addition to the new calf and her parents, the other rhinos at the SRS are females Bina, Ratu, and Delilah, and males Andalas and Harapan.

Meet the Parents

Rosa is relatively outgoing compared to other rhinos, who tend to be shy and solitary. There were reports about a decade ago from local villagers about a young Sumatran rhino spotted walking on one of the main roads in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in western Sumatra. She was also seen browsing for vegetation in villages around the park. The sightings were unusual because Sumatran rhinos typically avoid people and their homes and live in isolated forests, moving mostly at night.

Rosa, however, became accustomed to being near humans and feeding close to them. She was observed and protected for several years, but rangers, park officials, and other authorities believed her behavior put her at risk so she was moved to the SRS.

Rosa is a loud rhino. She makes a lot of noise at feeding time or when people come near her. She also likes to “sing” when wallowing in mud holes.

Born in 2012, the calf’s father, Andatu, was the first rhino born in captivity in Indonesia. His father was born at the Cincinnati Zoo and moved to Indonesia. His mother had wandered outside of Way Kambas National Park’s boundaries and was brought to the SRS. The second birth at the sanctuary was his little sister, Delilah, in 2016.

The newborn calf is a third-generation captive-born Sumatran rhino, which is the first-ever recorded for this species.

Wiratno says, "With the birth of the calf of Rosa at the SRS, we hope to continue to receive happy news from the births of other Sumatran rhinos in the future.”

View Article Sources
  1. "Sumatran Rhino Calf Born at Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia's Way Bambas National Park." International Rhino Foundation, 2022

  2. "Dicerorhinus Sumatrensis: Ellis, S. & Talukdar, B." IUCN Red List, 2019, doi:10.2305/