Harapan, Sumatran rhino from Cincinnati Zoo, now ready to breed at sanctuary in Indonesia

Harapan, Sumatran rhino from Cincinnati Zoo, now ready to breed at sanctuary in Indonesia
Posted at 9:17 AM, Nov 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-13 09:47:25-05

CINCINNATI -- A year ago, Harapan left Cincinnati for a trip around the world.

Now, he's ready to breed -- and hopefully, save his species.

Millions of visitors saw Harapan, a Sumatran rhino, at zoos over the years. Born in Cincinnati, he spent a stint at the Los Angeles Zoo before returning to the Queen City in 2013.

Following the death of his sister, Suci, in 2014, Harapan became the only Sumatran rhino in captivity in the Western Hemisphere. And scientists estimate only 100 Sumatran rhinos are left in existence, making Harapan one of the most valuable animals in the world.

So he left his home here last November, flying 30 hours and 10,000 miles to the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia to help keep his species from going extinct.

The staff at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in the Way Kambas National Park of Lampung, Sumatra cares for six Sumatran rhinos which consists of daily medical checks and washing of the animals, hand feeding of local browse and produce, and providing each rhino with its own 25 acre enclosure in the rainforest. Photo by Emily Maxwell | WCPO

Since Harapan was the prime age for breeding and needed to be moved while it was still warm enough for him to be outside during transport, the zoo had a lot to do. And quickly.'s Emily Maxwell was the only journalist to accompany Harapan on his journey back to Sumatra. See more of her photos of Harapan's journey.

The zoo tweeted Saturday morning that Harapan was ready to breed, critical to his species survival. His older brother, Andalas, has already successfully mated at the Sumatran Rhino sanctuary.

Numbers of the two-horned "hairy rhinos," descendants of Ice Age wooly rhinos, have fallen by some 90 percent since the mid-1980s as development of their forest habitat and poachers seeking their prized horns took their toll.

Indonesian officials were anxious to get Harapan to their sanctuary in his ancestral homeland. They've said they don't want to be dependent on other countries in conservation efforts by sending rhinos to be bred abroad, but welcome technological or scientific assistance for their breeding program.