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Leading international conservation organizations join effort to save the Sumatran rhino

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Leading International Conservation Organizations join effort to save the Sumatran rhino

Cincinnati Zoo, Save the Rhino International and the Zoological and Botanical Garden Stuttgart, Wilhelma lend their support and expertise to the growing alliance to save the critically endangered Sumatran rhino.

Washington, DC, May 17, 2019 — On Endangered Species Day, Sumatran Rhino Rescue welcomed the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Save the Rhino International and the Zoological and Botanical Garden Stuttgart, Wilhelma to the groundbreaking effort to save the Sumatran rhino. As strategic partners, these organizations are providing at least $100,000 in monetary or in-kind support for the initiative. Sumatran Rhino Rescue is a groundbreaking alliance of leading international conservation organizations working to support the Government of Indonesia’s emergency action plan to save the critically endangered Sumatran rhino from imminent extinction by developing and implementing a conservation breeding program.

With fewer than 80 Sumatran rhinos left in the world, the species faces a crisis point. After decades of poaching and habitat loss, rhinos in the wild are separated into small populations and are unable to easily find mates. In their current fragmented and dispersed pockets across two vast Indonesian islands, hope for their survival depends on conservationists’ ability to find and safely relocate them to specialized facilities designed for their care.

As strategic partners, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Save the Rhino International and the Wilhelma Zoological and Botanical Garden Stuttgart will support Sumatran Rhino Rescue efforts under the leadership of the core alliance partners, Global Wildlife Conservation, International Rhino Foundation, International Union for Conservation of Nature, the National Geographic Society, and WWF.

These strategic partners have a long history of conservation efforts to protect and care for many species of rhinos from Asia and Africa. Notably, scientific breakthroughs at the Cincinnati Zoo led to the first Sumatran rhino calf bred and born in a conservation breeding program in 112 years. That rhino, Andalas, was born at the Zoo in 2001 and is now living in the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park in Indonesian Borneo, where he has become a father of two rhinos born in 2012 and 2016.

“As strategic partners in this effort, these three organizations will be critical in helping to bring this species back from the brink of extinction,” said Jon Paul Rodriguez, chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. “Strategic partners such as these, with decades of expertise in caring for and protecting rhinos both in the wild and in captivity, are key to the success of this large-scale undertaking.”

Sumatran Rhino Rescue facilitates activities in three key areas of species conservation and care:

  • Capacity Building: Establishing two new Sumatran Rhino Sanctuaries in Indonesia, one in Indonesian Borneo and the other in northern Sumatra, and expanding the existing facility in Way Kambas National Park;
  • Search and Rescue: Undertaking search and rescue operations to move isolated Sumatran rhinos to managed conservation breeding facilities; and
  • Care and Protection: Incorporating rhinos into a single conservation breeding program that uses state-of-the-art veterinary and husbandry care designed to maximize population growth

With the help of local partners, the alliance has already successfully rescued and relocated a female rhino named Pahu in Indonesian Borneo. The rescue is the first major activity of the conservation breeding program led by the Sumatran Rhino Rescue to save the species from extinction and eventually increase populations of Sumatran rhino to numbers that allow them to be returned to the wild.

Sumatran Rhino Rescue is actively recruiting other organizations and individuals to help support these efforts. For more information and to learn how to join this effort, visit www.sumatranrhinorescue.org.

About Sumatran Rhino Rescue

Sumatran Rhino Rescue is a groundbreaking, collaborative approach to save the Sumatran rhino by supporting the Government of Indonesia’s national Sumatran rhino conservation breeding program. The effort is led by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission, in coordination with Global Wildlife Conservation, International Rhino Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and WWF and supported by partners on the ground in Indonesia.

Contact info:
Fae Jencks, National Geographic Society fjencks@ngs.org