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Indonesia plans IVF for recently captured Sumatran rhino

05 / 11 / 2019, Mongabaycom News

EAST LAMPUNG, Indonesia — Indonesian authorities will make their first attempt at in vitro fertilization of a Sumatran rhino, aiming to boost the critically endangered species’ gene pool in the process. The egg for the IVF attempt will come from Pahu, a solitary female Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) being held at the Kelian Lestari Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) in West Kutai district, in the Bornean province of East Kalimantan. Indra Exploitasia, the director of biodiversity conservation at the environment ministry, told Mongabay that the plan was to fertilize egg cells harvested from Pahu with sperm collected from one of the males living at the Way Kambas SRS in Lampung province, on the island of Sumatra. Pahu was captured from the wild in November 2018 as part of a captive-breeding program for the species. For a year she has been held alone in the facility leading some to question what Indonesian authorities plan for her future. Pahu is believed to be quite old as rhinos go, about 25 years old, but experts say they’ve found no obvious reproductive problems with her. However, she weighs only around 360 kilograms (790 pounds), less than half the weight of a typical adult Sumatran rhino, and experts suspect she might be suffering from dwarfism. Her small size has raised fears that attempting to mate her naturally with a much-larger male could lead to injury or even death; Sumatran rhino mating is a violent, raucous affair. Her size has also prompted doubts that she would be…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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