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Last Sumatran Rhino In The U.S. Travels 10,000 Miles -- To Mate

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 2/11/2015 Dominique Mosbergen

Now that’s one long-haul of a booty call.

On Sunday, Harapan, the last Sumatran rhino in the Western hemisphere, arrived in Indonesia after traveling almost 10,000 miles over land, air and sea from the Ohio zoo where he was born.

The purpose of his long journey? To find a mate.

Due largely to illegal poaching and deforestation, Sumatran rhinos are a critically endangered species, with fewer than 100 left in the wild. Most of these animals reside on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, which Harapan will now call home.

Harapan’s move is part of the last-ditch effort to save the Sumatran rhino. Conservationists hope the 8-year-old rhino, who was born in the Cincinnati Zoo, will mate with females in a sanctuary at Way Kambas National Park.

"We are hoping [a particular rhino named Rosa] and Harapan will hit it off," Terri Roth, Cincinnati Zoo’s vice president for conservation and science, told National Geographic earlier this year.

She added that Harapan, whose name means "hope" in Indonesian, was quite the "eligible" bachelor. "He’s a really fun rhino. He seems like a little bit of a pistol, quite frankly," she said.

According to the Associated Press, Harapan, who weighs 1,800 pounds, "underwent medical checks and was trained to walk into and voluntarily remain in his crate" before beginning his lengthy trip on Friday. The animal was reportedly accompanied on his journey by veteran animal keeper Paul Reinhart from the Cincinnati Zoo.

Harapan's trip marked the end of the zoo's captive breeding program for the Sumatran rhino. The program produced three rhinos -- Harapan, Andalas, who has been in Indonesia since 2007, and Suci, who died from illness last year at the Cincinnati facility. 

Sumatran rhinos, sometimes referred to as "hairy rhinos," are the smallest of the rhino species. All five rhino species, including critically-endangered black rhino and Javan rhino, are threatened in the wild.


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