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SOS Rhino : In the News : The tricky business of rhino reproduction
 

The tricky business of rhino reproduction

 

By Paul Watson, Times Staff Writer

5:43 PM PDT, April 25, 2007

WAY KAMBAS NATIONAL PARK, Indonesia -- Promoting the sex life of a stud Sumatran rhino from Los Angeles is an intricate affair involving mud, massages and frequent foot rubs. His species may be heading for extinction, but a male still has needs.

So Andalas, who flew here from the Los Angeles Zoo in February, is getting the pampered treatment from his Indonesian keepers. They hand-feed him his favorite ficus leaves, play hide-and-seek with him in the rain forest, gently nuzzle him nose to horn, and massage his cracked feet along with the soft spots of his ample butt.

"That's a good boy," they coo to the 1,540-pound beast in English, as he closes his eyes, softly snorts and soaks up the love.

The keepers hope all the affection will improve the odds that Andalas, the first Sumatran rhino born in captivity in 112 years, will soon sire offspring in his new home in a rhino sanctuary on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

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