Cincinnati Zoo Mourns Loss Of One Of The World’s Most Famous Endangered Species

Cincinnati, OH – A Sumatran rhino named Ipuh died at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. The male rhino was about 33 years old. Ipuh lived at one of the oldest zoos in America for 22 years. The Sumatran rhino sired three calves since 2001. Andalas, the calf born in 2001 was he first captive Sumatran rhino birth since the 19th century.

Since the landmark Sumatran rhino birth in 2001, Ipuh has sired more calves than any of rhino in captivity. The Lindner Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife’s (CREW) research at the Cincinnati Zoo is credited for making the captive birth of the endangered species possible.

“It is always devastating when a beloved animal reaches the end of its life, especially one whose amazing history makes him so special. He literally turned a failing captive breeding program for his critically endangered species into an international success. Our hope is that we can honor him by continuing to build on the legacy that Ipuh left behind, through his sons and daughters, as well as the scientific advancements that he contributed to in life. CREW’s high-tech, science-based approach produces more options for helping to save critically endangered species, and right now, every possible option is required for saving the Sumatran rhino.”

In 2012, Ipuh became a grandpa when Andalas sired a calf. Andalas lives at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia, Fox 19 News reports. Sumatran rhinos are widely considered the most endangered of the species. This particular species of rhino is possibly the most endangered mammal on the planet.

The Sumatran rhino population has decreased by at least 50 percent in the past 20 years. Horn poaching is one of the two primary reasons for population decreases. The conversion of the rhino’s habitat for agricultural purposes is also reportedly causing problems for the endangered species.

There are only 10 Sumatran rhinos living in captivity around the world. There are only 200 known Sumatran rhinos living in the wild. Most of the wild population lives in forested areas of Indonesia and Malaysia.

Ipuh is believed to be one of the oldest Sumatran rhinos on record. Ipuh’s other offspring include Suci in204, and Harapan in 2007. In the spring, the Cincinnati Zoo hosts a “Zoo Babies” event where all the new feathered, scaled, and furry bundles of joy make their first public appearances. I recall waiting in line a very long time with my daughter to catch a glimpse of Suci wallowing in the mud during her big debut.

R.I.P. Ipuh – you will be missed by thousands of adoring visitors and animal conservationists.

[Image Via: Cincinnati Zoo]