There are less than 100 Sumatran rhinos in Indonesia. With the small population and the species’ difficulty to mate, their future does not look promising.
Some hope, however, has dawned with the birth of Delilah on May 12, 2016. She is the second child of Andalas and Ratu, living at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park in Lampung. Her name, given by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, means “God’s blessing” in Javanese.
“Delilah is the second Sumatran rhino born at the sanctuary [after her brother Andatu]. Her birth shows our commitment to ensure the growth of the rhino population. We’re trying hard to get Delilah and her family back to their natural habitat in Sumatra and Kalimantan,” Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) country director Noviar Andayani said at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in Jakarta on Tuesday (16/05).
Delilah’s birth was a milestone in an effort to save the Sumatran rhinos from extinction.
“She is so special because, as a female, she will be able to bear children. We hope Delilah will grow up and become a mother,” said Widodo Ramono who heads Yayasan Badak Indonesia (YABI).
Female Sumatran rhinos reach sexual maturity around the age of six. They normally give birth every three years and live to about 40.
Delilah celebrated her first birthday last week, which inspired conservation groups to use the moment to raise awareness about the critically endangered species.
Sumatran Rhino Consortium – comprising International Rhino Foundation (IRF), YABI, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Forum Konservasi Leuser (FKL) and Leuser International Foundation (LIF) – joined hands with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to launch #KadoUntukDelilah (“a gift for Delilah”) social media campaign.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram accounts are already filled with posts about the little rhino’s daily life. Social media users can send their birthday wishes to Delilah using the hashtag.
“We hope that Delilah’s story will motivate all to save the Sumatran rhinos. With this campaign, we are inviting everyone to help,” Widodo added.
“The social media support can be translated into real actions and also influence the government to produce policies for the conservation of the Sumatran rhinos and their habitat,” Noviar said.
The government wants to increase the populations of 25 endangered species, including the rhinos, by 10 percent before 2019.
“If there are 100 Sumatran rhinos now, we need to have another 10 by 2019, so we need more effort to reach the target,” said Bambang Dahono Adji, the ministry’s director for conservation.