The announcement overnight of the birth of a female Sumatran Rhino brings hope to a species on the edge.
Taronga staff are celebrating the news this morning of another great outcome from our work with our partners the International Rhino Foundation in Indonesia.
With only 100 Sumatran Rhinos clinging to existence in pockets across Indonesia’s largest island, every birth is critically important and this one born to experienced breeding female Ratu and Cincinnati Zoo-born male, Andalas, is the culmination of a combined effort by the International Rhino Foundation, Taronga and other zoos with support from the Indonesian Government.
Taronga’s expertise across both zoos has been called upon to provide a range of support including husbandry and veterinary expertise, along with funding community based anti-poaching rangers in the Way Kambas National Park.
Based on the extreme circumstances facing these rhinos and our commitment, the Sumatran Rhino was one of the species chosen this year as a Taronga Centenary Legacy Species along with Sumatran Tigers, Sun Bears, Pangolins and Asian Elephants.
This focus on supporting the conservation work of our Indonesian colleagues in Sumatra was determined because of experience in the region, and that it is one of the world’s bio-diversity hot spots.
I believe with this sort of coordinated effort, we can together turn around the critical status of Sumatran Rhinos. Fortunately there are successful precedents in other parts of the world with White Rhino in the 1900s and recently the Greater One-horned Rhino in India.
As one of our Legacy species, Taronga has committed over the next 10 years to three main programs to support Sumatran Rhinos:
1. Taronga will continue to fund anti-poaching projects, employing wildlife rangers from local communities to help protect all the creatures in the park.
2. Taronga will continue to provide financial support along with expert staff from our veterinary and husbandry teams to better understand the biology of Sumatran Rhinos and support the sanctuary’s breeding program.
3. We will also continue to focus on local communities around the Way Kambas National Park to build capacity around eco-tourism and education programs which will bring financial security to people in this region. I want everyone to join us in working towards a sustainable future for wildlife and people so we can share the joy and inspiration animals like the Sumatran Rhino bring to us in decades to come.
In July, I’ll be taking a group of leaders and Taronga Centenary Ambassadors to see this work in Way Kambas first-hand. You can lend your support to this work at: https://tarongaceosumatra.everydayhero.com/au/cameron-kerr
If you're interested in joining me on this amazing trip to Sumatra visit: https://taronga.org.au/100-years/centenary-events/ceo-challenge
- Cameron Kerr, Director and CEO, Taronga Zoo and International Rhino Foundation Boardmember