Many species of animals have become endangered or extinct due to the actions of humans. We've all heard of classic examples like the dodo bird, but many people are still unaware of the critically endangered animals who roam the earth today. Whether they've been put in this position by poachers or climate change, there's no denying that they will suffer the same fate as their extinct brothers and sisters if we don't do anything to help.
The Sumatran rhinoceros is one such species whose story deserves to be heard. In 1900, there were around 500,000 rhinos living in the wild around the world. Only 70 years later, the population had decreased to a mere 70,000. Today, there are only 29,000 rhinos out in the wild. These figures come to us from the folks at the International Rhino Foundation. As the name suggests, these caring individuals have made it their mission to ensure a safe future for rhinos as a species. Going toe-to-toe with poachers can seem impossible at times, but they recently scored a big win for rhinos everywhere in the form of a newborn calf.
In the past 128 years, there have only been two Sumatran rhinoceros calves born in Indonesia. Four years ago, a rhino named Ratu gave birth to a calf named Andatu in an exciting moment for rhino lovers everywhere. Now, just a few days ago, Ratu gave birth to her second healthy calf! Check out the images below to learn more about these incredible creatures and what the birth of a new rhino means for the future of the species.
Ratu is a 14-year-old rhino living at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary.
In 2012, she gave birth to the first calf in Indonesia in 124 years. Now, just four years later, she's done it again!
Last week, Ratu welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world. This is a huge victory for Sumatran rhinos as a species. Back in 2008, a survey concluded that only around 250 were still roaming the earth.
Dr. Susie Ellis, the executive director of the International Rhino Foundation, had this to say: "Ratu’s calf has just increased the population by 1% — while this won’t save the species, it’s one more Sumatran rhino on Earth."
As for her sibling, Andatu, he most likely won't get to meet his newborn sister. "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," said Ellis.
But don't worry, Ratu will get to spend plenty of time with her new calf. Apparently, Ratu was a bit of a "wild child" before she had her first baby in 2012, but becoming a mother has changed her.
"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," explains Ellis. "With this new baby, she again has become very calm — and, of course, she is a very attentive mother."
The International Rhino Foundation is doing everything in their power to make sure rhinos like Ratu can raise their offspring in peace. They work with sanctuaries and zoos around the country to achieve a common goal of a future with rhinos.
So far, they're doing pretty well. Heck, they've even got Luke Skywalker on their side!
Just look at this video of Ratu preparing the enclosure for her baby.
This video features her stretching around the enclosure, a tell-tale sign that she is about to give birth. Aren't rhinos remarkable?
Even though this little one doesn't have a name yet, she's still stealing our hearts with every new photo we see. We wish Ratu and her babies a healthy future. Even though Sumatran rhinos are far from safe, it's calves like these that provide hope for future generations.
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