Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 21:24 EDT

Rare Sumatran Rhino Pregnancy at Indonesian Sanctuary

February 8, 2012

SUMATRA, Indonesia, Feb. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Scientists around the world are following the pregnancy of Ratu, a seven year old Sumatran rhino who lives at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia’s Way Kambas National Park. The International Rhino Foundation announced today that Ratu has just completed the 11th month of her pregnancy, and they are optimistic she will deliver a healthy baby Sumatran Rhino.

In February 2010, Ratu’s first pregnancy was diagnosed but she miscarried after two months. Her second pregnancy did not even last a month. A hormone supplement was prescribed when she became pregnant this third time.

Ratu is one of an estimated 200 wild Sumatran rhinos left in the world. She came into contact with villagers on the border of Way Kambas National Park and was rescued. The young male, Andalas, who bred Ratu in early March 2011 is also located at the sanctuary.

The same hormone supplement prescribed for Ratu was provided to Andalas’s mother when she was pregnant with him because she had also experienced early pregnancy loss. Dr. Terri Roth, director of Cincinnati Zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife and vice president for IRF’s Asia programs, provided the protocol and dosage that proved successful at the Cincinnati Zoo. The hormone supplement is given orally every day and will be withdrawn slowly prior to the expected delivery date.

Dr. Dedi Candra, based at the Sanctuary, has been monitoring Ratu’s pregnancy — weighing her weekly and conducting regular ultrasound exams. Ratu has been allowed almost constant access to her large forested enclosure.

The Sumatran rhino is seriously threatened by the continuing loss of its tropical forest habitat and hunting pressure from poachers, who kill rhinos for their valuable horns. Every Sumatran rhino birth represents hope for the survival of this species, which runs the risk of going extinct by the end of this century.

“We’ve got fingers crossed that everything will continue to go well and that Ratu will deliver a healthy baby sometime in late spring or early summer. This is truly a dedicated team effort, not just with regard to managing a critical pregnancy, but also in terms of the round-the-clock effort to protect Indonesia’s last remaining wild Sumatran rhinos,” Dr. Susie Ellis, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation said.

To learn more about IRF, visit http://www.rhinos-irf.org

SOURCE International Rhino Foundation

Source: PR Newswire