What to do when you want to settle down and raise a family but you’re the last remaining member of your species in the country?
No, this isn’t the latest sci-fi movie coming out this fall. It’s the real life story of Harapan, the last Sumatran rhino in the United States.
The Cincinnati Zoo isn’t going to just let him pine away, though. Instead, the 8-year-old male Sumatran rhino will move to Indonesia sometime later this year in an attempt to breed with a female rhino at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, a breeding facility in the Way Kambas National Park.
The zoo called the move “the end of an era” for its Sumatran rhino breeding program, the only captive breeding program in the U.S. that has produced calves for this critically-endangered species.
“Despite the great personal sadness so many of us feel both about Harapan leaving and Cincinnati Zoo’s Sumatran rhino breeding program coming to an end, we need to focus on all we have accomplished, for there is much to celebrate,” said Dr. Terri Roth, director of the zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife, in a statement. “The Cincinnati Zoo has had a profound, historic impact on the effort to save this species.”
About 100 of these rhinos exist in the world, and only nine live in captivity. One of three calves born at the Cincinnati Zoo, Harapan is the only Sumatran rhino currently living outside of Southeast Asia.
Visitors will still be able to see Harapan on display at the zoo, until his departure.