Happy Birthday Bina!

Today we’re celebrating a milestone: Bina the Sumatran rhino’s 40th birthday! At 40 years old, Bina has lived longer than any other captive Sumatran rhino on record, which is a testament to the amazing care she receives at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) in Way Kambas National Park.

Since Bina was born in the wild we don’t know her exact age or birth date. When she was rescued in 1991, rhino experts estimated her age at 10 years old. January 8th is the day that Bina arrived at the SRS, so that’s the day we celebrate as her birthday. Really we’ll take any chance we can get to celebrate the lovely Bina and her caretakers.

Bina on her morning patrol for the tastiest looking leaves. Photo by keeper Iswanto.

Bina gets her name from Bina Samakta, an area of the Bengkulu province in southern Sumatra, Indonesia, where she was found. Bengkulu province, adjacent to Kerinci-Seblat National Park, 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 decimated rhino habitat and left the province with few rhinos. Under the direction of the Indonesian government, in May of 1991, a consortium working to rescue displaced rhinos funded the capture of these stranded rhinos and Bina was one of them. When she was rescued, Bina was full grown and estimated to be about 10 years old at the time. She joined other Sumatran rhinos at Taman Safari Indonesia (Indonesia Safari Park) and lived there for several years until transferring to the SRS.

Each morning, the SRS rhinos are brought into their stalls from their large forested pens for baths, visual exams, training, and of course plenty of snacks.

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 SRS in Way Kambas National Park in 1996. Soon after construction on the SRS 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 conservation breeding and program aimed at increasing the Sumatran rhino population. At the sanctuary, the rhinos reside in large, semi-wild forest areas where they can experience a natural habitat while still receiving state-of-the-art veterinary care and nutrition.

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. While all of the keepers help take care of Bina, she is particularly fond of her keeper Dede, who has been taking care of Bina for decades.

Bina and Dede Nurdin

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! She may be the oldest rhino at the SRS but she still has a lot of spunk and energy (for a Sumatran rhino).

Did you know you can now find your inner Sumatran rhino? Each of the seven rhinos at the SRS is unique, find out if Bina or another rhino most closely matches your personality. Take the quiz.

If you’ve fallen in love with Bina like we have and want to help support her care at the SRS, you can adopt her either in your own name, or as a gift for a friend. 100% of every Bina adoption funds our Sumatran rhino program which helps feed and care for the rhinos at the SRS as well as protect Sumatran rhinos in the wild. Protect what you love, adopt Bina today!

Happy Birthday Bina! May your day be filled with lots of fresh fruits and naps in the wallow.

Bina and her ‘party hat.’ Photo by Suzi Eszterhas.