By Jamie Mcginnes
..Meet the proud mother of the first live Sumatran rhino born in captivity in Indonesian history.
These heart-melting pictures show 12-year-old Ratu tenderly caring for her as yet unnamed two-day old son.
Standing at just nine inches tall the tiny rhino is currently the size of a puppy - yet one day could weigh a whopping 125 stone.
Adorable: Sumatran rhinoceros Ratu is shown tenderly caring for her as yet unnamed two-day old son
Big plans: Standing at just nine inches tall, the tiny rhino is currently the size of a puppy - yet one day could weigh a whopping 125 stone
The newborn rhino's weight is not yet known because vets caring for him at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary at Way Kambas National Park cannot get near the youngster for fear of his protective mother, who could attack if she felt her offspring was threatened.
Ratu gave birth after suffering two previous miscarriages.
Indonesian Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan explained the significance of the birth in the context of breeding Sumatran rhinos across Asia.
He said: 'This birth will increase the confidence of the international community.
'[It] will no doubt help government efforts to preserve endangered species like the Sumatran rhino, but also other now rare creatures that once existed all across Indonesia.'
Protective: The newborn rhino's weight is not yet known because vets caring for him at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary cannot get near as his mother could attack if she felt he was threatened
It is only the fourth known case of a Sumatran rhino being born in captivity in 100 years.
The creatures - one of the world's most endangered species - are critically at risk in the wild, with just 170 thought to survive in the forests of the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
It is possible another 50 of the rare animals live in the Malaysian-administered part of Borneo called Sabah.
High hopes: The baby creature is only the fourth known case of a Sumatran rhino being born in captivity in 100 years
Snuggled up: Ratu relaxes with her baby son at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, in Way Kambas National Park, Indonesia
The major threats to the survival of the Sumatran rhinoceros are poaching, loss of habitat and the difficulty such a small population has in finding mates to breed successfully.
Their numbers have slumped by 50% in just 20 years.
Each breeding pair can roam more than 5,000 hectares of forest and they are highly territorial - with encounters between the mighty beasts often turning into pitched battles for space.
Sumatran rhinos have been successfully bred in developed nations before.
This baby rhino's father, Andalas,11, was himself the world's first captive bred Sumatran rhino when he was born in 2001.
Andalas, who is not pictured because he is not yet allowed near his son, was born at Cincinnati zoo in America.
Future prospects: The baby's father, Andalas, (not pictured) was himself the world's first captive bred Sumatran rhino when he was born in 2001
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
By Jamie Mcginnes