© 2023 Cincinnati Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Rare Rhino Says Goodbye To Cincinnati

The Cincinnati Zoo's Sumatran rhino, the only one on public display in the world, will leave the Zoo permanently  in October to live in Indonesia.

Dr. Terri Roth, Director of the Zoo's Center for Conservation & Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) said  8-year-old Harapan is sexually mature and his opportunity to breed and contribute to his species' survival exists only at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS), a breeding facility in the Way Kambas National Park of Indonesia.

Harapan's departure effectively ends the Cincinnati Zoo's Sumatran rhino breeding program, the only captive breeding program in the United States. Roth said, "Though the numbers are frighteningly low, Sumatran rhinos still exist in the forests of Sumatra. We believe there is still time to save them and we are by no means giving up that fight now."

There are 100 Sumatran rhinos left in the world. Harapan is the last one in the Western Hemisphere.

Getting "Harry" Ready

Rhino Team Leader Paul Reinhart says in order to get Harry ready for the long flight he will be placed in a crate for longer and longer periods of time. This will help condition him. When the day comes to move the 1,8000 pound animal, the transportation will involve trucks, planes, and government permits. Reinhart and Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Jenny Nollman will accompany Harapan on his journey.

Cincinnati's Success In Breeding This Rare Mammal

Led by Dr. Roth, CREW scientists unraveled the mysteries of Sumatran rhino reproduction.

  • 2001 produced Andalas, the first calf bred and born in captivity in 112 years.
  • 2004 produced Suci, Harapan's sister.
  • 2007 produced Harapan.

Between 2001 and 2012, the Cincinnati Zoo was the only place successfully breeding this endangered species. In 2007, Andalas was transferred to the SRS. It paid off when, in 2012, Andalas' healthy son was born in Sumatra.
Until he leaves, you can visit Harapan in the Wildlife Canyon daily from 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., weather permitting.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.