Asian Rhino Projectx

Rosa - Female Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)

The name of 'Rosa' was given by Zen Afrial - the RPU member who developed a very close relationship with this unique rhino. Rosa was observed closely and protected by a special team of RPU until she was moved to SRS. Inspired by the Rose flower, the name of 'Rosa' was chosen when Zen observed her one night under a full moon. 

Rosa adapted well to her life at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, and still exhibits all of the behaviours that make her so unique. Because she is so habituated to humans, Rosa regularly takes long walks in the forest with sanctuary staff. She is a particularly loud rhino, and often vocalizes, especially when people are close by, or when her regular feeding time is approaching.  Rosa also likes to “sing” when she is happily wallowing in her mud holes.

Unfortunately though, because she is so habituated to humans, it seems that Rosa often prefers the company of her keepers to the company of other rhinos, even after she became mature. Rosa’s keepers have encouraged her to become more independent by giving her more time alone in the forest, and now she often chooses to remain in the forest even when they come near (rather than always standing at the fence and “calling” for her keepers as she used to do). Rosa is sometimes afraid of the male rhino and often tries to run away when he approaches her. The SRS staff continue to work hard to socialize Rosa with the other rhinos at the sanctuary, so that she will begin breeding soon. Scientists are currently looking at artificial insemination techniques for this species of which Rosa will be a good candidate for.

About Rosa

Capture: Rosa originates from Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (BBSNP), and over the period of about two years lost all fear for mankind and became totally habituated to the presence of humans. As she went ever more outside of the Park, sometimes for more than 30 km, it became clear that the situation had become unsustainable and the risks for Rosa’s life were considerable. In October 2005 a temporary adaptation Boma was constricted on the side of the Sukaraja-Bengkunat Road, and Rosa was guided from Kali Kumbang village to the boma. After she had adjusted and been crate trained she was moved to the SRS on the 26 of November 2005.

Life history: The story starts at the end of 2003 when local people reported to the Rhino Protection Units (RPU) of BBSNP that there was a Sumatran rhino frequently observed walking on or eating along the road crossing the Park between Sukaraja and  Bengkunat. The rhino was also often observed by people while eating on fields on the border of the Park. As there are many people, including hunters, traveling the road through the Park it was decided in January 2004 to protect Rosa by two Rhino Protection Unit (RPU) teams operating from two temporary camp in Rosa’s home range.

It may be that Rosa was actually born and raised in this area, and therefore had become used to humans and their vehicle. Normally Sumatran rhinos are shy and stay away from habitation, but Rosa seemed to prefer people’s gardens and sometimes slept on the warm dry asphalt.

Over time she became more and more attached to the people tracking her but also she moved further and further out of the protection of the Park. In October 2005 she escaped from her guards and was found a few days later walking on a market 30 km away from her usual range, followed by hundreds of excited villagers. It took the RPUs 4 days to guide her back to the Park.

It was apparent that the situation was becoming unmanageable and unsustainable and the authorities in consultation with the rhino conservation programs decided to relocate Rosa to the SRS for her own safety. After she was moved it was found that Rosa already suffered severe infections with internal parasites, including liver fluke, contacted from cattle in the villages. Her movement to the SRS was timely and probably life saving.

In the SRS: In the SRS Rosa was treated extensively and only after she was found to be free of the dangerous parasites she was moved into a permanent paddock. She is doing fine now and, like Ratu, feeds extensively on the vegetation in the 10 Ha paddock. The rhinos with a zoo history are quite satisfied with getting their food from the keepers. Rosa is not fully mature and is shy of contacts with Torgamba. It may take one or two years more before she will be mature and can be mixed with a male.

Future:  Rosa and Ratu represent the hope for the future of the global Sumatran rhino captive breeding program. It is hoped that they will soon be able to produce more rhinos to assist with safeguarding the survival of the unique hairy rhino and to act as ambassadors to secure the understanding and support of society for rhino conservation and for a sustainable natural relationship with our planet.

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Andatu- Male Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)

Andatu is the first Sumatran rhino to be born at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, marking a significant milestone for the captive breeding population within Indonesia.

Weighing just 27kg at birth, Andatu now weighs 260kg and continues to amaze his keepers with his growth and development. Andatu spends time in his forest enclosure under the watchful eye of his mother, Ratu, and follows her closely, observing her habits. He likes to join her in the wallow, and eats an impressive 12kg of food a day!

Andalas - Male Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)

Andalas, the first Sumatran rhino born in captivity in more than 112 years, is the living, breathing result of a groundbreaking research and breeding effort undertaken by American zoos, the Indonesian government, and the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary. He is the first in a long line of Sumatran rhinos that hopefully will be bred in captivity and eventually introduced back into the wild to help bolster wild rhino populations.

Andalas now weighs over 1,600 pounds and has fully adapted to his life in the jungle at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary. He loves making his own mud wallows to cool down, and has started foraging for plants and twigs himself, rather than always waiting for his keepers to feed him. Andalas has also grown into his role as the sanctuary’s primary breeding male, having reached sexual maturity sometime in early 2008.  Because Andalas’ early interactions with female rhinos were quite aggressive, the SRS staff worked hard to socialize Andalas to the female rhinos by feeding the rhinos their daily diets together through a fence in the central breeding area. After he learned to communicate well with the female rhinos, the keepers and vets began gradually introducing Andalas and female Ratu during appropriate times for breeding. Andalas finally began breeding with Ratu in December 2009, and after only three matings, Ratu became pregnant. Unfortunately she later miscarried the pregnancy – not an unusual occurrence with rhinos – but she and Andalas resumed breeding and successfully had their first calf born in June 2012!

Ratu - Female Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)

Estimated to be born in 1999, Ratu is the second youngest female Sumatran rhino living at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary. Unlike the other rhinos at the sanctuary, Ratu (whose name means “queen”) was actually born in Way Kambas National Park, the protected area where the sanctuary is located.

Because she presumably had some experience with male rhinos while living in the wild, Ratu was chosen to be the primary breeding female with the sanctuary’s young male, Andalas. In December 2009, Andalas began successfully mating with Ratu.  The breeding followed months of gradual introduction by scent, sound, sight, and finally, physical proximity.

After just three matings, Ratu fell pregnant. She later miscarried- not unusual in sumatran rhino pregnancies- but fell pregnant again soon after and successfully gave birth to her first calf 'Andatu' in June 2012!

Rosa - Female Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)

The name of 'Rosa' was given by Zen Afrial - the RPU member who developed a very close relationship with this unique rhino. Rosa was observed closely and protected by a special team of RPU until she was moved to SRS. Inspired by the Rose flower, the name of 'Rosa' was chosen when Zen observed her one night under a full moon. 

Rosa adapted well to her life at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, and still exhibits all of the behaviours that make her so unique. Because she is so habituated to humans, Rosa regularly takes long walks in the forest with sanctuary staff. She is a particularly loud rhino, and often vocalizes, especially when people are close by, or when her regular feeding time is approaching.  Rosa also likes to “sing” when she is happily wallowing in her mud holes.

Unfortunately though, because she is so habituated to humans, it seems that Rosa often prefers the company of her keepers to the company of other rhinos, even after she became mature. Rosa’s keepers have encouraged her to become more independent by giving her more time alone in the forest, and now she often chooses to remain in the forest even when they come near (rather than always standing at the fence and “calling” for her keepers as she used to do). Rosa is sometimes afraid of the male rhino and often tries to run away when he approaches her. The SRS staff continue to work hard to socialize Rosa with the other rhinos at the sanctuary, so that she will begin breeding soon. Scientists are currently looking at artificial insemination techniques for this species of which Rosa will be a good candidate for.

Bina - Female Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)

Bina is the oldest female at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) estimated to be born around 1985. She has been at the SRS  its inception in 1998.

Of all the rhinos at the sanctuary, Bina is the most shy and solitary, but she does get along well with people, and with the other rhinos. Because of her advanced age, Bina is now nearly post-reproductive, although she is still very interested in the male rhinos at the sanctuary. She often becomes aggressive and begins snorting loudly if she sees or hears another female with one of the male rhinos. Unfortunately she has not been able to produce a calf, however, Bina has made important contributions to the breeding program and continues to help educate people about Sumatran rhinos.