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Rhino Brothers Can Save Their Species From Extinction

<p>26Isabella / <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sumatran_Rhinoceros_at_Sumatran_Rhino_Sanctuary_Lampung_Indonesia_2013.JPG" target="_blank">Wikimedia Commons</a> (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en" target="_blank">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>)</p>

In August, the Cincinnati Zoo officially announced they would be saying goodbye to Harapan. A bittersweet but important move for the Sumatran rhinos.

Soon he will set out on an epic journey to the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) in Indonesia. This move is in hopes that he will be able to breed and help increase the dwindling numbers in their population. There are only approximately 100 Sumatrans left in the entire world, with only nine existing in captivity.

The zoo has held the distinction of having the first successful birth in captivity in 112 years. From 2001 to 2012, Emi the Sumatran gave birth to three offspring; Andalas, Suci and Harapan. In 2007, Andalas was sent to the SRS and successfully bred. Unfortunately Suci passed away from the same genetic disposition as her mother, Emi.

Now it is Harapan's turn to join his brother in Indonesia, where he will have three potential mates to choose from and hopefully continue his famous mother's bloodline.

"Ultimately, the responsibility for saving this magnificent species now lies squarely on the shoulders of our Indonesian colleagues. Our hope is that they succeed beyond all of our wildest dreams," said Dr. Teri Roth, director of the zoo's Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife CREW).

In addition to this urgent move, it was announced on Sep. 22 (World Rhino Day) that there is another Sumatran at the SRS who is pregnant! This baby is the second offspring sired by Andalas.

Andalas. Photo: The Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary

"To have a confirmed breeding success at SRS weeks before we send Andalas' younger sibling, Harapan, to the sanctuary for the same purpose is encouraging and fuels the hope that Harapan will also contribute to the survival of his species," stated Roth.