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SOS Rhino : In the News : Cincinnati's endangered rhino delivers in rare zoo birth

Cincinnati's endangered rhino delivers in rare zoo birth

  Sunday, August 01, 2004
Cleveland Plain Dealer

Associated Press

Cincinnati- A Sumatran rhinoceros gave birth to a second calf at the Cincinnati Zoo on Friday, becoming the first of the endangered species to produce two offspring while in captivity, zoo officials said.

Emi concluded a pregnancy of almost 16 months with the birth of a female calf. The 14-year-old rhino, on loan from the Indonesian government for breeding programs in the United States, and her as-yet unnamed calf were doing well, zoo spokesman Chad Yelton said.

"This is a historic birth," said Terri Roth, vice president of animal sciences at the Cincinnati Zoo, which is part of an international coalition trying to help the species survive. "Because Sumatran rhinos are on the brink of extinction, this calf serves as a lifeline for a species clinging desperately to survival."

Emi was the first Sumatran rhino in 112 years to give birth to a calf in captivity when she delivered 72.6-pound Andalas on Sept. 13, 2001. Andalas, who now weighs more than 1,100 pounds, was relocated last year to the Los Angeles Zoo.

With only about 300 Sumatran rhinos known to exist in the wild, they are the most endangered of the five rhino species and among the world's most endangered mammals. Only eight are in captivity. Emi's breeding partner, Ipuh, also is on loan from Indonesia.

Emi had lost five pregnancies within the first 90 days of gestation before carrying her first full-term calf.

About 70 percent of the Sumatran rhino population has been lost since 1985, mainly to poaching and loss of its tropical habitat in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Veterinarians planned to let Emi and her newborn bond and nurse before trying to weigh the calf Saturday, Yelton said.

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