“Despite the great personal sadness so many of us feel both about Harapan leaving and Cincinnati Zoo’s Sumatran rhino breeding program coming to an end, we need to focus on all we have accomplished, for there is much to celebrate”, Dr. Terri Roth, director of the Zoo’s Center for Conservation & Research of Endangered Wildlife, said to reporters.
The final details and permits for transferring Harapan are still being worked out, but the zoo officials expect Harapan to fly to Jakarta, and then be taken by ferry to his ancestral island home of Sumatra, Roth said.
Harapan, the third of three calves born at the Cincinnati Zoo, was also the only Sumatran rhino living outside of Southeast Asia.
The Cincinnati Zoo is making an announcement Tuesday that it says will have “global impact”. Experts said the development of the south-east Asia forest habitat and the poachers seeking the prized horns of the rhinos caused their extinction.
The Cincinnati Zoo has had the only successful captive breeding program in the United States for the small, hairy species believed to number only 100 in the wild and nine in captivity worldwide, according to Roth.
The Cincinnati zoo has been considered as the pioneer in breeding Sumatran rhinos. Harapan is expected to leave the zoo in October. “The opportunity for him to breed and contribute to his species survival exists only at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary”.
Harapan’s journey to the partner animal sanctuary will be long, said Dr. Roth.
He will join Andalas at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, where he lives with three females and his one male offspring, born in 2012, on the Indonesia island.
South Africa has struggled to counter poaching syndicates cashing in on high demand for rhino horns in parts of Asia where some people claim they have medicinal properties for treating such maladies as hangovers and cancer.