A Sumatran Rhino gave birth to a female calf at a sanctuary in Indonesia on Thursday, taking the critically endangered species a step further away from extinction.
The baby was born on western Sumatra island, and within hours was walking around and feeding from its mother.
It was the second baby born to rhino Ratu. Her previous birth four years ago marked the first time a Sumatran Rhino had been born in an Asian breeding facility for more than 140 years.
The new calf and Ratu, whose name means “Queen” in Indonesian, were both in good health.
“We are very thankful for this birth, as Sumatran Rhinos are rare animals,” environment ministry spokesman Novrizal Tahar said.
Ratu was observed stretching in her maternity pen in recent days, a signal her delivery was nearing. The birth took about two hours.
The birth “demonstrates the government of Indonesia’s commitment, in cooperation with the Indonesian Rhino Foundation, towards rhino conservation efforts in Indonesia,” Mr Tahar said.
It is believed that just 100 of the rhinos are left in the world. Last year, they were declared extinct in Malaysia.
Ratu, a wild rhino who wandered out of the rainforest and into the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park a decade ago, had become pregnant after meeting with Andalas, a male rhino at the park.
Ratu’s first baby, Andatu, was born at the sanctuary in 2012. Thursday’s birth was the fifth in a breeding facility.
Despite being the smallest of the five surviving rhino species, Sumatran rhinos have very long pregnancies, lasting about 16 months.
Harapan, the brother of Andalas, was transferred from the United States to the Sumatran sanctuary last November in the hope he would find a mate.
Covered in woolly hair ranging from reddish brown to black in co lour, Sumatran rhinos are the only Asian Rhinoceroses with two horns.
While Javan rhinos are considered the world’s rarest, Sumatran rhinos are under increasing threat.
They are targeted by poachers as their horns and other body parts fetch high prices on the black market for use in traditional Chinese medicine.
In addition, their rain-forest habitat on Sumatra island is being destroyed due to the rapid expansion of palm oil and pulp and paper plantations.