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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 February 2007, 11:54 GMT
US-born rhino heads to Indonesia
Sumatran rhino
The rhinos have fallen prey to poachers
A rare rhinoceros bred at a US zoo has made a long journey to Indonesia as part of international efforts to save the species from extinction.

Andalas, the only Sumatran rhino bred in captivity in more than a century, joins two females who live in a national park on the island of Sumatra.

He was flown across the Pacific and arrived in Indonesia on Wednesday.

The Sumatran rhino is the world's most endangered rhino species with fewer than 300 thought to exist in the wild.

Andalas, born on 13 September 2001 at Cincinnati Zoo and then transferred to Los Angeles Zoo, was the first Sumatran rhinoceros to be bred in captivity since 1889.

DICERORHINUS SUMATRENSIS
In 2001, there were about 300 Sumatran rhinos
They live in dense tropical forest, mainly in the Malay Peninsula and Borneo
They weigh 600-950kg (1,300-2,000 lbs)
They stand at 1-1.5 metres (3-5 ft)
Source: International Rhino Foundation

"Andalas's journey to Indonesia is vital to the future of Sumatran rhinos," LA Zoo director John Lewis said in a statement on the zoo's website.

"This breeding programme is just one example of the extent zoos will go to in order to save a species from extinction," he said.

Andalas, called after the original name for Sumatra, will join two female rhinos, Rosa and Ratu, at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in the Way Kambas National Park in the south-east of the island.

He travelled to Indonesia with LA Zoo's chief vet and his keeper.

After arriving in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, he was to be taken by land to the national park, a road journey of about 12 hours.

map

The Sumatran rhino is the smallest and hairiest as well as the rarest of the rhino species.

There are thought to be only about 300 left in isolated areas in Malaysia and Indonesia.

The rhino population has declined by some 70% over the past two decades.

The main cause is poaching due to the demand for their horns, which are used in some traditional Asian medicines.




SEE ALSO
Sumatran rhino tracks spark hopes
17 Mar 06 |  Asia-Pacific
White Rhino future under threat
20 May 04 |  Science/Nature
Malaysian rhino centre criticised
24 Nov 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Malaysian centre's last rhino dies
17 Nov 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Asian rhinos face new threat
14 Aug 02 |  Science/Nature

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