Image: rhinos Ratu and Andalas
Indonesian Rhino Foundation  /  AFP - Getty Images
A pair of highly endangered Sumatran rhino, a female named Ratu (L) and a male named Andalas (R) at the breeding sanctuary in the Way Kambas national park in Lampung, South Sumatra province.
updated 2/22/2010 12:30:18 PM ET 2010-02-22T17:30:18

A rare Sumatran rhino in an Indonesian wildlife sanctuary will give birth in May to only the fourth calf of the endangered species born in captivity in more than a century, a scientist said Thursday.

The wild Indonesian-born mother, Ratu, was mated with Cincinnati Zoo-born Andalas, who nine years ago became the first of three rhinos born in captivity in the past 112 years, International Rhino Foundation executive director Susie Ellis said.

The calf is due to be born in a wildlife reserve on Sumatra island on May 11 after a 15-month pregnancy, Ellis said.

Sumatran rhinos are the world's smallest rhino species, standing only 4 feet to 4 feet 9 inches at the shoulder.

Andalas was moved in 2007 from the Los Angeles Zoo, where he grew up, to the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary where he was gradually introduced to his mate.

The wild Sumatran rhino population has more than halved in the past 15 years and now numbers about 200, Ellis said. Another 10 live in captivity, including five in the 250-acre Sumatran sanctuary, which is funded by the foundation.

"The captive population represents not only an insurance policy for the wild population, but also a means to study the basic biology of the species, which we must understand in order to save them," Ellis said.

Only about 24,500 rhinos survive in the wild with another 1,250 in captivity, said the foundation, a global not-for-profit organization.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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