The last Sumatran rhino in the Western Hemisphere began a journey on October 30, 2015 from Ohio, United States to its ancestral southeast Asian homeland on a mission to help preserve the critically endangered species. …Conservationists hope Harapan can mate with one or more of the three females in the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park….Numbers of the two-horned “hairy rhinos,” descendants of Ice Age wooly rhinos, have fallen by some 90 percent since the mid-1980s as development of their forest habitat and poachers seeking their horns took their toll. Including three Sumatran rhinos in a sanctuary in Malaysia, only nine are in captivity globally. Harapan’s departure ends the Cincinnati Zoo’s captive breeding program for the species that produced three rhinos….Indonesian officials are anxious to get Harapan to their sanctuary. They have said they don’t want to be dependent on other countries in conservation efforts by sending rhinos to be bred abroad, but welcome technological or scientific assistance for their breeding program.Conservationists and government officials met in Singapore in 2013 for a Sumatran Rhino Crisis Summit to discuss ways to save the species.
Excerpts from DAN SEWELL, Sumatran Rhino Begins US-Asia Trip to Ancestral Home, Associated Press, Oct. 30, 2015