Endangered Sumatran Elephant’s Surprise Birth: It’s a Girl!
Banda Aceh. A trained Sumatran elephant named Suci has given birth at Conservation Response Unit Sampoiniet in Aceh Jaya, Aceh.
Wahdi Azmi, field manager for the Aceh branch of Flora & Fauna International, a conservation group, said that Suci gave birth to a female calf early on Tuesday morning.
CRU staffers were not there to witness the birth of the calf, as Suci, 20, had not been displaying any signs of labor.
“Yesterday, when the CRU team woke up, they were surprised to see Suci already gave birth,” Wahdi said
He added that the team thought Suci was 44 weeks pregnant, and elephants generally have a gestation period of 88 weeks, or 22 months, the longest of any land mammal.
The baby elephant, which weighs about 70 kilograms and stands 80 centimeters in height, is in good condition, according to Wahdi. She has been named Ayu Rosalina.
According to Wahdi, Suci began mating with a wild elephant that lived in the forest area around CRU Sampoiniet’s Camp 21 months ago.
CRU is a program collaboration between the local Natural Resources Conservation Agency, Aceh Jaya Forestry Agency, Aceh Protection and Monitoring Program of Flora and Fauna International and a local community ranger institute.
“The program, which has been running since 2009, is aimed at building community-based forestry security mechanisms and mitigating conflict between the community and wild animals,” Wahdi said.
The CRU Sampoiniet team has five trained elephants used as rides during forest patrols, but the elephants are also an important tool to raise awareness and provide conservation education.
The Sumatran elephant has been declared critically endangered, with its population in Aceh estimated at only 500.
The number of Sumatran elephants in the wild has dropped dramatically in the past four years. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has said the species is now one step away from extinction.