Emi, In Loving Memory

Emi’s Legacy – Click to enlarge.

Emi, the Sumatran rhino that made history by producing three calves at the Cincinnati Zoo from 2001 – 2008 passed away in her sleep on September 5, 2009. No animal at the Zoo was more beloved than this amazing rhino who contributed more to saving her species than any other Sumatran rhino in the world. Because Emi was so docile and amiable, CREW scientists were able to study her in depth and unravel the mysteries of Sumatran rhino reproduction which led to our successful breeding program….the only one in the world until 2012 when Emi’s first calf sired a baby in Sumatra. Although Emi left us too early, her legacy lives on in her two beautiful male calves, Andalas and Harapan, her ‘grandson’ Andatu, and her ‘granddaughter’ Delilah. Emi’s first born, Andalas, was returned to Sumatra in 2007 to serve as a catalyst for a breeding program in the species’ native land.  In 2016, Andalas’ brother, Harapan followed, joining his ‘big brother’ in Sumatra to help save the species. Her grandson, Andatu, is the first Sumatran rhino born in a zoo on the island of Sumatra. Those of us who had the privilege to work with Emi will never forget her playful personality, her spirit when facing her mate, Ipuh, or the care she demonstrated when raising her calves. Emi may have left us too early, but the memories she created will last a lifetime and will provide endless inspiration to those of us striving to save the Sumatran rhino.

Ipuh Lives On

Ipuh’s Legacy – Click to enlarge.

Ipuh was believed to be one of the oldest Sumatran rhinos in zoos when he died in 2013. He was one of the last three original 40 Sumatran rhinos captured to establish the zoo breeding program in 1984. He literally turned this failing zoo breeding program into an international success.

Ipuh, Emi’s mate and father of her three calves, called the Cincinnati Zoo his home for about 22 years.  Ipuh became a grandfather when his first born calf was transported back to his homeland island of Sumatra and bred a female rhino at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary who subsequently gave birth to a healthy male calf, Andatu, in 2012 and a female calf, Delilah, in 2016.

The first Sumatran rhino semen ever collected and cryopreserved was from Ipuh.  CREW’s CryoBioBank contains straws of his semen that have been frozen for over 10 years.  Therefore, not only will his calves and their offspring continue to provide hope for his species, but Ipuh himself may continue to sire calves even after his death.

Dr. Terri Roth, Director of CREW, and others around the world continue to work to secure a future for the critically endangered Sumatran rhino – “Our hope is that we can honor Ipuh by continuing to build on the legacy that he left behind, through his sons and daughters, as well as the scientific advancements that he contributed to in life”.

ipuhmuseumYou can now see Ipuh at the Cincinnati Museum Center as a part of their zoology collection. It is important to preserve biological material from Ipuh for scientific study and analysis, but also to continue to share his unique story and the worldwide conservation efforts by the Cincinnati Zoo & the Cincinnati Museum Center. Ipuh’s remains were preserved for display with help from the veterinary team at the Cincinnati Zoo, taxidermist David Noem and Museum Center staff taxidermist David Might.

Tissue samples collected by veterinary staff at the Cincinnati Zoo were deposited in the Cincinnati Museum Center Genomic Resources Collection for sequencing and analysis. In collaboration with the Cincinnati Zoo, Marshall University and Jeffrey Whitsett, MD, and Alexander Lange, PhD, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Museum Center has conducted preliminary work towards sequencing Ipuh’s genome, or its entire DNA. A full genome sequence for the Sumatran rhinoceros will provide a wealth of information about the biology, conservation and evolutionary history of this unique and imperiled species.

Andalas Carrying on the Legacy in Sumatra

In 2007, the Cincinnati Zoo’s first-born Sumatran rhino calf, Andalas, was relocated to the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) on the island of Sumatra. Weighing in at 770 kg (~1700 lbs), Andalas is the largest rhino at the reserve and is bigger than his father, Ipuh. Andalas has maintained his childhood love of people and the attention they give him. He is the most well behaved rhino in the reserve for blood collection, foot exams, ultrasound exams and many other hands-on procedures that help the staff maintain his excellent health. Andalas has never been sick or seriously injured and he has adapted to the new forest environment, the change in diet and exposure to many new insects that he hadn’t encountered in the US, without a hitch.

Watch a Video of Andalas in Sumatra!

Andalas has clearly benefited from the outstanding care and wonderful home the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary provides. But Andalas was not just sent to Sumatra, his ancestral home, to hang out in the rain forest. The SRS is also home to three females and the conservationists hoped that eventually Andalas would sire calves with one or more of the females. After numerous introductions, Andalas and Ratu successfully bred in 2011 and she became pregnant. In June 2012, the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) and the Cincinnati Zoo were pleased to announce the birth of a healthy male Sumatran rhino calf! The calf was born to mother, Ratu, a 12-year-old Sumatran rhino living at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia’s Way Kambas National Park and father, “Andalas,” born at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2001 and the first Sumatran rhino calf born in a zoo in 112 years. Full story >

In 2015, The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) announced that the critically-endangered Sumatran rhino population will soon increase by one. This will be the second calf that Andalas has sired since his arrival at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) in 2007. Full story >

Suci passed away on March 30, 2014.  A devastating loss for her keepers, CREW, the Cincinnati Zoo and the world.

Emi and Ipuh, the parents of Andalas, successfully bred a second time in April 2003 at the Cincinnati Zoo. Suci was born in 2004 validating the science that led to the birth of her brother, Andalas, the first Sumatran rhino calf born in a zoo in 112 years. Like her brother, Suci was the subject of a behavior study which was published in a peer reviewed journal. The behavior study involved countless hours of observation by trained, dedicated volunteers who logged specific behaviors at specific time intervals.

Subsequently, Suci was the focus of a 6 year study to determine when a female Sumatran rhino reaches sexual maturation. This study involved regular ultrasound exams of the ovaries and the analysis of a normal animal by-product (i.e. Suci’s fecal matter) over a number of years. Specific hormones were extracted from the fecal samples and measured over the years to determine when Suci became sexually mature. The results are being summarized for another scientific paper.


Harapan was born at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2007 to parents Emi and Ipuh, who are the only rhino pair in a zoo to have three offspring. Harapan spent a few years in California at the Los Angeles Zoo and then came back to Cincinnati before finally heading to Indonesia for a chance to contribute to his critically endangered species. Ipuh, Harapan’s father, was believed to be one of the oldest Sumatran rhinos in zoos. He died in 2013 at the age of 22.  His body was preserved and is on display at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

The wild Sumatran rhino population has decreased by more than 50% in the past decade, which now makes them the most endangered large mammal on the planet. Risks include: poaching, encroachment, roads being built through habitats, deforestation due to the palm oil industry.

With so few Sumatran rhinos in the world, each member of the zoo population must play a critical role in the race to bring this magnificent species back from the brink of extinction. There are no more than 80 Sumatran rhinos left in the world. Harapan was the only Sumatran rhino in North America. Because Indonesia will not send a female here, arrangements were made for Harapan to be transported to Indonesia.  Harry was moved to Indonesia because it’s his only chance to contribute to the survival of his species. Read more about his journey. Harapan made the long (53 hours) journey from the Cincinnati Zoo to the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) in November of 2015 to join the six other rhinos in the only remaining viable breeding program on the planet for this species. The Sumatran rhino is on the brink of extinction, so breeding success at SRS is critical.

In 2018, after almost 3 years at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS), 11-year old Harapan is much closer to fulfilling his mission to mate to help save his critically endangered species. He has been introduced to Ratu, an 18-year-old female that has already given birth to two calves (sired by Harapan’s brother, Andalas).  Keep your fingers crossed!

Andatu and his mom, Ratu on June 13, 2013.
Andatu and his mom, Ratu on June 13, 2013.

In June 2012 the  International Rhino Foundation(IRF) and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden announced the birth of a male Sumatran rhino calf in Sumatra. This is the first birth of a Sumatran rhino in an Indonesian facility and the first birth in an Asian facility in 124 years.

Baby born in Indonesia June 23, 2012

The calf’s mother is Ratu, a 12-year-old Sumatran rhino living at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia’s Way Kambas National Park. His father is Andalas, born at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2001 and the first Sumatran Rhino calf born in a zoo in 112 years.

In 2007 Andalas was sent to the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary with the hope that he would eventually sire calves with one or more of the females at the SRS……and he succeeded! The male calf is named Andatu, an Indonesian word meaning gift of god and a combination of his father’s and mother’s name. Andatu stood about an hour after birth and began nursing almost immediately. Ratu is a very good mother. The birth was attended by Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary veterinarians and keepers as well as advisors from the Cincinnati Zoo and Taronga Conservation Society Australia.

more info

“To say that we are thrilled is an understatement,” said Dr. Terri Roth, Vice President of Conservation and Science and Director of the Cincinnati Zoo’s Lindner Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW). “When we celebrated the monumental birth of Andalas at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2001, we never imagined he would play such a pivotal role in the survival of his species. This international collaboration is conservation work at its finest.”

According to Dr. Susie Ellis, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation, “The little guy is absolutely adorable, and none of us has been able to stop smiling since the moment we were sure he was alive and healthy. We have been waiting for this moment since the sanctuary was built in 1998. The International Rhino Foundation is honored to play an important role in protecting rhinos. We are hopeful the Sumatran rhino population will thrive once again.”

Dr. Dedi Candra, head veterinarian and animal collections manager at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, has been monitoring Ratu’s pregnancy by weighing her weekly and conducting regular ultrasound exams, using methods developed by CREW at the Cincinnati Zoo. “We have been waiting for this moment since Ratu wandered from the forest in 2005,” Candra said. Full story >

The Sumatran rhino is seriously threatened by the continuing loss of its tropical forest habitat and hunting pressure from poachers, who kill rhinos for their valuable horns. Every successful Sumatran rhino birth is critical for the survival of the species, which runs the risk of extinction by the end of this century. Let’s NOT let extinction happen!

Good news! As of Aug 7, 2019, Andatu, appears fertile and is now ready to breed!  With fewer than 80 individuals on the planet, news of Andatu’s fertility is cause for celebration.


The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) announced May 12, 2016, that the critically-endangered Sumatran rhino population has increased by one!  A female rhino calf, Delilah, was born on May 12, at 4:42 a.m., at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) in Indonesia. The calf’s father, Andalas, was born at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in 2001 and moved to the SRS in 2007.

Video of the Birth starts at 1:22 on IRF Facebook Page

With fewer than 100 Sumatran rhinos left on the planet, this birth is significant for the species. “The birth of any healthy Sumatran rhino calf is reason to rejoice, but the birth of a female calf when the species is so very close to extinction, makes this a monumental event.  We applaud our Indonesian colleagues on their success and our own Andalas for siring his second calf,” said the scientist who unraveled the mysteries of Sumatran rhino reproduction, Dr. Terri Roth, Director of the Zoo’s Center for Conservation & Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW). Dr. Roth was at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary last winter when Ratu and Andalas were put together for the breeding session that produced this calf!

Cincinnati Zoo keeper Paul Reinhart was in Sumatra this morning for the birth of the calf, along with veterinarians and keepers from the SRS. Reinhart is the only person in the world to have witnessed the births of all five Sumatran rhinos born in a zoo in the last century! He was present for the birth of Andalas at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2001, which held the distinction of being the first Sumatran rhino birth in 112 years in a zoo! CREW’s science-based breeding techniques led to the arrival of a girl, Suci, in 2004 and another boy, Harapan, in 2007. Reinhart cared for all three rhinos.

This is the second calf that Andalas has sired since his arrival at the SRS in 2007.  The first calf, a male named Andatu, was born to female Ratu in 2012 and made history as the first Sumatran rhino calf produced in a zoo in Indonesia.

Reinhart, who arrived in Indonesia in late April and slept by Ratu’s den for the last few nights, texted, “she’s about perfect! Ratu was / is stellar. Sometimes I can’t believe how fortunate I’ve been, to be part of something so extraordinary.  It shows how good things can go when people come together.”  He will stay at the SRS for a few weeks to assist with the calf and spend some quality time with Andalas and Harapan, the rhino he accompanied from Cincinnati to his new home at the SRS in October, 2015.

A female Sumatran rhino calf was born at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS)! There are only 80 of these magnificent little, hairy rhinos left in the world, so one more is something to celebrate.  Only six have been born in a managed breeding situation in the last century, and the first of those was born at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in 2001.  His name is Andalas, and he is the grandsire of the new calf!

This birth is significant for many reasons. This is the first Sumatran rhino born from a parent that was also born at SRS and introduces much-needed genetic diversity from the dam, Rosa, who had not until now reproduced and had lost eight pregnancies before delivering this calf.   Learn more about the historic birth in this announcement from the International Rhino Foundation.  Cincinnati Zoo’s expert Sumatran rhino caregiver, Paul Reinhart, was once again invited to the SRS to assist if necessary, making Paul the only person to witness all six Sumatran rhino calf births in the history of the program.

Help Us

  • Write to your Congressman and Representative requesting that they work with the Indonesian government to protect wild rhinos in Sumatra and bolster the joint Indonesia – U.S. zoo breeding efforts.
  • Write to the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia and ask him to talk to his Indonesian counterparts about solving the problems facing the Sumatran rhino and its habitat.
  • Lobby companies using Indonesian and Malaysian products (palm oil, paper, etc.) to step up and help save Southeastern Asian wildlife with financial support.
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle products that come from the rainforest such as paper, lumber and those containing palm oil