Senior Vet, Benn
Recently I spent some time at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary assisting the staff at the sanctuary and the International Rhino Foundation with the birth of a Sumatran Rhino. Ratu, the female Sumatran Rhino, was nearing the end of her gestation period and a Rhino keeper from Cincinnati Zoo who has attended three USA Sumatran Rhino calvings and I, along with the staff at the sanctuary, were on standby to help if needed.
After a few days of observing the animal we knew something was afoot as Ratu declined her usual meal as the evening drew closer. At 11pm her waters broke and over the next couple of hours Ratu delivered a healthy male calf.
Ratu’s baby stood and was nursing within just 90 minutes showing that she is a superb mother, rolling on her side and presenting her udder for the baby to nurse and she was ever watchful in between these times.
It was an amazing highlight of my career to be there and witness the birth of such a critically endangered animal. There was a real buzz at the Sumatran Rhino sanctuary following the birth. Despite everyone having no sleep there were big smiles everywhere and plenty of backslapping and high fives. The baby is symbolic of the significant role the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary will play for Sumatran Rhino conservation into the future.
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