Endangered rhino 'may have miscarried' in Indonesia



Endangered rhino `may have miscarried` in Indonesia Jakarta: A critically endangered Sumatran rhino which became pregnant in captivity could have miscarried, a rhino conservationist has said .

Eight-year-old Ratu became pregnant in February after mating with Andalas, the first of only three Sumatran rhinos born in captivity over the past 112 years.

"She might have miscarried... we checked and the foetus was gone. She's also ovulating," said Widodo Ramono of the Rhino Foundation of Indonesia, which is conducting the breeding programme in conjunction with the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) and Cincinnati Zoo in the United States.

Ramono said the rhino would be given an ultrasound to confirm if she has miscarried.

The two-horned, hairy, forest-dwelling Sumatran rhinoceros is one of the most endangered mammals in the world, with only about 200 remaining in the wild, up to 180 in Indonesia and the rest in Malaysia.

Solitary and aggressive, they are rarely sighted in the wild and avoid even other members of their species except when females are ready to mate.

Andalas was born on September 13, 2001 in Cincinnati Zoo, while Ratu was rescued in 2005 after she was chased from a forest on Sumatra by villagers who reportedly mistook her for a mythical monster and tried to kill her.

They were introduced last year in a sanctuary in the Way Kambas national park in South Sumatra province, two years after Andalas arrived from the United States to participate in the programme.

"I'm disappointed but this is a challenge for us to try to get her pregnant again," Ramono said.

PTI