The United States is looking at extending the species of Sumatran Rhinos in the land as it sends off its last male rhino named Harapan to Indonesia to breed.
The Cincinnati Zoo has declared its plans of setting up Harapan with a female Rhino named Rosa at an Indonesian breeding facility as its last-ditch intervention to save the species. Rosa was held captive in the facility after it began loitering around the national park where its was born.
"We are hoping she and Harapan will hit it off," said Terri Roth, vice president for conservation and science at the Cincinnati Zoo. According to her, Harapan is really fun and even said that it is "extremely eligible." The male rhino weighs approximately 1,800 pounds and is now eight years of age.
Although the plans have been set by both the Cincinnati Zoo and the Los Angeles Zoo, where Harapan's mother originally came from, it may take time before it can actually be put into action. Zoo officials still need to secure various permits and documents not only from the U.S. government, but from Indonesia as well. Some of the requirements have already been obtained; however, others are yet to be available and the officials are hoping that it everything will be accomplished soon.
Should the plans of moving Harapan get a green light signal from all the concerned authorities, the rhino will be sent to Jakarta via a cargo plane together with its zoo keeper and veterinarian. The party will then travel in a ferry going to Sumatra, after which they will ride a truck that will take them to Way Kambas, which is located at the southern tip of the island. Fertile female Sumatran rhinos are expected to be there and the possibility of Harapan mating with one of them begins.
Approximately 100 rhinos remain in the world. Several years ago, the Cincinnati Zoo declared its plans of breeding siblings Harapan and Suci in the hopes of extending the existence of the species. The news gathered international interest as it sparked awareness that rhinos are truly becoming extinct. However, in March 2014, Suci died without an offspring.
The impact of the rhinos' extinction all the more cause an alarm as a team of scientists recently announced that the species have also gone extinct in the wilderness of Malaysia.
The extinction of Sumatran rhinos may partially be attributed to the complicated reproductive systems of the females. If a female rhino does not conceive on a regular basis, it develops reproductive health problems such as uterine cysts, which may subsequently lead to infertility. Interestingly, the females rhinos are said to forego ovulation if it does not sense a male in the surroundings.
Photo: Tony Alter | Flickr