Back in May, one endangered rhino’s life changed forever.
The International Rhino Foundation announced that one of its Sumatran rhinos, Ratu, birthed a beautiful female calf — the second new calf born into this species, in Indonesia and in captivity, in over 128 years!
Ratu, an Indonesia-based rhino, lives at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, and was also responsible for the first calf born in captivity after this period that was more than a century long. Her son, Andatu, was born back in 2012.
Ratu’s little calves have each entered this world as more than just new adorable baby animals.
As IRF Executive Director Dr. Susie Ellis told LittleThings, “Sumatran rhinos are the most endangered large mammal on the planet because of their rapid rate of decline.
“They were just declared extinct in the wild in Malaysia, and now exist only in Indonesia. Ratu’s calf has just increased the population by one percent — while this won’t save the species, it’s one more Sumatran rhino on Earth.”
For some, Ratu’s calves have sparked beautiful new hope for these struggling creatures. Scroll through below to see how this wonderful news stands to impact the entire Sumatran rhino species, and then watch the video to witness this miraculous birth!
Some readers might find the video below to be too graphic. If you do not wish to see this rare rhino giving birth, please click back to the LittleThings homepage.
In May, Sumatran rhino, Ratu, gave birth to a beautiful new female calf, marking only the second Indonesia-based Sumatran rhino birth in over 128 years.
Ratu, a 14-year-old rhino living at Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, birthed her new calf with no complications.
With fewer than 100 members of this species left alive on Earth, this little calf’s birth is certainly a miracle in more ways than one.
Ratu is now a two-time mom.
Four years ago, she made history birthing her son, Andatu.
When asked if Andatu will get to spend time with the new calf, IRF Executive Director Dr. Susie Ellis told LittleThings, “Sumatran rhinos are solitary in nature, and so the conditions here are similar.
“Andatu will likely not have the chance to spend time with his sister. In the wild, his mom would have already kicked him out of her territory.”
CeCe Sieffert of the IRF told LittleThings, “Ratu is a very good mother. Within moments after the birth, she was at the baby’s side, making sure it was all right.”
Ellis added, “Before she had her first calf, she was the feistiest and most difficult rhino at the facility.
“As soon as she had Andatu, she calmed down — even so much that the keepers were able to safely enter her pen, which they had not been able to do previously.
“With this new baby, she again has become very calm — and of course, she is a very attentive mother.”
Sieffert shared with LittleThings some of the scariest challenges facing this species, explaining: “The two greatest challenges are poaching and a small, distributed population.
“We support Rhino Protection Units (RPUs) in national parks on Sumatra, who spend 15 [or more] days out of every month in the field, patrolling, monitoring for rhinos, and deactivating snares.
“Habitat loss from plantations, agriculture, and mining has created small, isolated pockets of the population.
“This means that rhinos living in these tiny pockets of remanent forest aren’t able to interact and ultimately breed with other rhinos.
“A group of rhino conservation partners, including IRF, are working to create ‘Intensive Protective Zones’ within protected areas (parks) and consolidating rhinos in these areas so they can be protected by RPUs and breed. We also support the SRS, where the baby rhino was born.”
In light of these challenges, Ellis noted in the IRF’s press release: “We are overjoyed that Ratu delivered a healthy calf and are cautiously optimistic that the calf will continue to thrive.
“She’s absolutely adorable, and we haven’t stopped smiling since the moment we were sure she was alive and healthy.
“While one birth does not save the species, it’s one more Sumatran rhino on Earth.”
This adorable newborn calf has sparked such exciting new hope for her entire species.
Watch the video below, from Stephen Belcher/Canon via Storyful, to see Ratu give birth to her miracle baby!
What do you think of this rhino’s story? Have you ever gotten to interact with a rhino? Tell us about your experience in the comments.
Please SHARE this story with other wildlife lovers in your community!