Asia

Endangered Sumatran rhino flown from US to Indonesia to mate

Harapan, a Sumatran Rhino, roams his enclosure on his last day of viewing at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens (29 Oct 2015) Image copyright AP
Image caption Eight-year-old Harapan's name means "hope" in Indonesian

A critically endangered male Sumatran rhino born in a US zoo has been flown to Indonesia to mate, as part of efforts to save his species.

Eight-year-old Harapan, born in Cincinnati, was the last Sumatran rhino in the Western hemisphere.

Conservationists hope he will mate with females in a rhino sanctuary.

The Sumatran rhino has been threatened by rampant deforestation and poaching. Researchers believe there are fewer than 100 left in the wild.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The rhino arrived at Jakarta's airport by a special travel crate
Image copyright AP
Image caption It was then transported to a nearby port and loaded onto a ferry to Sumatra

Harapan, whose name means hope, travelled more than 16,000km (9,941 miles) over land, air and sea to reach the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary at the Way Kambas National Park.

His sister, Suci, also lived with him in Cincinnati Zoo but died from an illness last year.

Harapan's trip marked the end of a programme by his zoo to breed rhinos in captivity.

Sumatrans are the smallest of the rhino species and the only Asian rhino with two horns. They are prized by poachers as their horns are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

The rhinos natural habitat in the forest of Sumatra is being devastated illegal logging and forest fires by farmers clearing land for palm oil and pulp plantations.

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