Conservationists trying to save the Sumatran rhino from extinction face a critical dilemma: In seeking to build a robust captive-breeding program, should the healthiest, most fertile rhinos be left in the wild or brought into captivity? It’s a question with no simple answers. The species, Dicerorhinus sumatrensis, once roamed from the Himalayan foothills to the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, but is today only known to survive in a few small pockets of forest in Indonesia. No more than 80 individuals are believed to be left on Earth. Decades of poaching and habitat loss brought the species to this point. But today, most experts believe that protecting the few remaining wild rhinos in situ is not enough to sustain the species. Because the remaining wild rhino populations are so small and so isolated from one another, the rate of births in the wild is likely no longer enough to offset even natural deaths. In 2018, a coalition called Sumatran Rhino Rescue, which includes the Indonesian government as well as local and international experts and conservation groups, announced the launch of a new and more intensive captive-breeding program. There are currently eight rhinos in conservation breeding facilities: seven at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park in southern Sumatra, and one at a facility in Indonesian Borneo. The coalition aims to boost numbers at the existing facilities, as well as establish additional centers in Indonesia, starting with one in the Leuser ecosystem at the northern tip of Sumatra. However,…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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