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Bina, estimated to have been born around 1985, is one of the last Sumatran rhinos to be captured and relocated within Indonesia. Named after her original home, Bina used to live in an area of southern Sumatra called Bina Samakta, located in Bengkulu province. Throughout Sumatra, forests that have long provided shelter and food for the island’s wildlife are now being cleared to make way for new human settlements – villages, farms and other industries. Bengkulu province used to be home to a significant population of Sumatran rhinos, but by the 1980s, the construction of several villages, large oil palm plantations, and a logging concession had left the province with few rhinos.
Bina and the few other rhinos still living in the area were essentially stranded, with no chance for survival in the wild, and so they were rescued in 1991. Responding to the critical decline in the Sumatran rhino population, the Indonesian government and international partners, including the International Rhino Foundation, decided to create the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) in Way Kambas National Park in 1997. After construction was completed, all the Sumatran rhinos remaining in captivity in Indonesia, including Bina, were transferred to the sanctuary so they could participate in an intensively managed research and breeding program aimed at increasing the Sumatran rhino population. Bina is the oldest female at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, and is the oldest living captive Sumatran rhinoceros. Of all the rhinos at the sanctuary, Bina is the most shy and solitary, but she does get along well with people, and with the other rhinos. Because of her advanced age, Bina is now nearly post-reproductive, although she is still very interested in the male rhinos at the sanctuary. She often becomes aggressive and begins snorting loudly if she sees or hears another female with one of the male rhinos. Although she unfortunately has not been able to produce any calves, Bina has made important contributions to the breeding program and continues to help educate people about Sumatran rhinos.