Emi, the Cincinnati Zoo’s world-famous critically endangered Sumatran rhino has done it again! On Sunday evening, April 29, Emi became the first Sumatran rhino in history to produce three calves in captivity, breaking her very own record. Emi delivered a healthy, 86-pound male calf at 10:59 p.m. in her indoor stall. Emi’s legacy has grown as she continues to be the most prolific Sumatran rhino in history.
It was through years of research that the staff at the Cincinnati Zoo’s Lindner Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) unraveled the mysteries of Sumatran rhino reproduction. This science has been integrated into the Cincinnati Zoo’s intensive rhino management program that, to-date, remains the only successful Sumatran rhino breeding program in the world.
"Ten years ago many people were skeptical claiming this species would never breed in a zoo. Yet today, the Cincinnati Zoo is world renowned for being the only place in the world this species is breeding successfully in captivity," said Dr. Terri Roth, Vice President of Conservation, Science and Living Collections at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. “A third successful birth in just seven years clearly demonstrates how successful a well managed, captive breeding program is for this critically endangered species.”
Emi became restless Sunday evening and her water broke at 9:35 p.m. One hour and 24 minutes later, Emi delivered her calf. Soon after delivery, Emi began licking her calf at 11:06 p.m. and the calf first attempted to stand at 11:28 p.m. The calf successfully nursed at 1:33 a.m. and he continues to nurse every 15-30 minutes. Emi and her calf are doing well and will remain inside for the next two weeks to allow privacy during this bonding time.
In September of 2001, Emi gave birth to a healthy 72.6-pound calf named, Andalas. This was the first time in 112 years that a Sumatran rhino successfully reproduced in captivity. In February, Andalas made the historical trek back to his ancestry homeland, Sumatra, to take part in a captive breeding program, in an effort to save his species. In 2004, Emi produced a second healthy 75-pound female calf, Suci, who still remains at the Cincinnati Zoo with mom and dad.
Good news like this comes at a critical time in the conservation of Sumatran rhinos. Today less than 300 survive in the wild and only ten Sumatran rhinos exist in captivity worldwide. The Cincinnati Zoo is home to the only four Sumatran rhinos living in the United States. Emi and the Cincinnati Zoo’s male, Ipuh are on loan from the Indonesian government and are the only successful captive breeding pair in the world.
Sumatran rhinos are a flagship species for the Cincinnati Zoo’s signature conservation programs. The Sumatran rhinoceros is considered one of the most endangered mammals on earth. In the last 15 years over 50% of the Sumatran rhino population has been lost because of poaching and habitat destruction.
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