Rescue Of Critically Endangered Sumatran Rhino

January 22, 2019


Rhino trapped in mud pit
Photo by Ridho Hafizh Zainur Ridha/WWF-Indonesia : A critically endangered Sumatran rhino in a pit trap in West Kutai, Kalimantan, Indonesia. The rhino has been safely transported to a Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary as part of the efforts of Sumatran Rhino Rescue. Learn more at


[KUTAI BARAT, 28 November 2018] –  A female Sumatran rhino, one of the most critically endangered mammal species on Earth, has been rescued from a mining concession in East Kalimantan. The rhino was transported by truck from the rescue site to a temporary holding facility in Indonesia’s East Kalimantan Province on the island of Borneo. Sumatran rhinos have decreased by 70 percent in the past 30 years. With only 80 remaining, and only in Indonesia, it’s paramount to ensure that each individual survives.

Led by the Government of Indonesia, this rescue is the first of many in a groundbreaking program to keep the species from going extinct. The Sumatran Rhino Rescue Project is an alliance of leading international conservation organizations including the International Rhino Foundation, WWF, the IUCN Species Survival Commission, National Geographic, and Global Wildlife Conservation.

“This first capture in Kalimantan is the beginning of a renewed international collaboration aimed at preventing the extinction of the Sumatran rhino,” said Susie Ellis, Executive Director of the International Rhino Foundation. “Saving this species requires capturing and consolidating the majority of remaining wild rhinos in intensively managed breeding facilities, and of course, continuing to protect animals in the wild. There have been multiple successful captures in the past, and international collaboration has led to refining the tricky science of breeding the Sumatran rhino in a managed setting. Three calves were born at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and two calves have been born at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park in southern Sumatra. The Sumatran Rhino Rescue Project will build on these successes.”

For the past 22 years, the International Rhino Foundation along with its on-the-ground partner, the Rhino Foundation of Indonesia (YABI or Yayasan Badak Indonesia), has operated a multi-faceted Sumatran Rhino Conservation Program that includes anti-poaching protection, and research and propagation of the species at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS). In anticipation of additional captures from small, isolated populations, the International Rhino Foundation is currently expanding the facilities at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, which now holds seven animals. The Sanctuary animals live in large, rainforest enclosures with state-of-the-art veterinary and husbandry care. Two calves have been born at the SRS, a male in 2012 and a female in 2016.

The rescue operation is the first major activity of an expanded conservation breeding program that aims to save the species from imminent extinction and eventually increase populations of Sumatran rhino to numbers that allow them to be returned to the wild.




About the International Rhino Foundation

The International Rhino Foundation is a small, impactful nonprofit that exists to ensure the survival of the world’s five rhino species through conservation and research. For almost 30 years, the International Rhino Foundation has funded and operated rhino protection and conservation programs in Africa and Asia – with a particular focus on Indonesia.  The Foundation built and co-manages the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in southern Sumatra, and has led Sumatran Rhino Protection Units for more than 22 years. The International Rhino Foundation works in areas where conservation is most needed and where precious resources will have the most impact. At the heart of the International Rhino Foundation’s vision is a world where rhinos thrive in the wild. We believe that these magnificent species should endure for future generations, and that protecting rhinos ensures the survival of many other species that share their habitat, including people. For more information, visit, Twitter: @rhinosIRF.

About Sumatran Rhino Rescue

Sumatran Rhino Rescue is a groundbreaking, collaborative approach to save the Sumatran rhino by supporting the Government of Indonesia’s national Sumatran rhino conservation breeding program. The effort is led by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission, in coordination with Global Wildlife Conservation, International Rhino Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and WWF and supported by partners on the ground in Indonesia. Learn more at