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Indonesia welcomes rare baby rhino

By Alexis Lai, CNN
updated 3:46 AM EDT, Tue June 26, 2012
A worker at the rhino sanctuary in Indonesia's Way Kambas National Park feeds a Sumatran rhino.
A worker at the rhino sanctuary in Indonesia's Way Kambas National Park feeds a Sumatran rhino.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sumatran rhino born in Indonesia, the fifth known to have been born in captivity ever
  • Indonesia is now the third country to have successfully bred the species in captivity
  • Less than 200 Sumatran rhinos remain in the world, making it the most endangered of all rhino species

(CNN) -- Indonesia celebrated a unique birth this weekend in the form of a baby Sumatran rhino -- only the fifth known to have been born in captivity ever.

The rare arrival took place at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in the Way Kambas National Park in Sumatra province, making Indonesia the third country to have successfully bred the species in captivity.

There are less than 200 Sumatran rhinos remaining in the world, according to the International Rhino Foundation (IRF), making it the most endangered of all rhino species. Aside from a dozen or so in Malaysia's Sabah province, the Sumatran rhinos reside in three national parks in Indonesia.

The critical endangered species is most threatened by poaching for its horns and destruction of its natural habitat. These factors have contributed to an estimated reduction in its numbers of more than 50% over the last two decades, the IRF said.

The father of Indonesia's newborn calf is actually one of three Sumatran Rhinos bred in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo in the United States. Andalus was born in 2001, some 112 years after the first known captive birth at Calcutta Zoo in India in 1889.

Saturday's birth was welcomed by rhino conservationists, following two miscarriages by Andalas' partner, Ratu, since their pairing in 2009.

"It's really a big present for the Sumatran rhino breeding efforts as we know that this is a very rare species which have some difficulties in their reproduction," Masyhud, a forestry ministry spokesman, told reporters, in quotes carried by Agence France Presse.

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