Zoo Will Mate Uber Rare Rhino Siblings

About 100 Sumatran rhinos left in the wild
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2013 8:21 AM CDT
In this Wednesday, July 17, 2013 photo, Suci, a female Sumatran rhino. Cincinnati Zoo officials will try to mate her with her brother, Harapan, in a desperation effort.   (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
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(Newser) – Desperate times are calling for icky measures in Cincinnati, where zoo officials are looking to mate their lone Sumatran rhino female—with her baby brother. With as few as 100 of the hairy, two-horned critters left in the wild in their native Southeast Asia, the race is on to breed the rhinos in captivity, and the AP notes that the Cincinnati Zoo has led the way with three calves so far. Now, it will try to mate 8-year-old Suci with her 6-year-old brother, Harapan. "We absolutely need more calves for the population as a whole; we have to produce as many as we can as quickly as we can," says a zoo official. "The population is in sharp decline and there's a lot of urgency around getting her pregnant."

And what about that ick factor? "We don't like to do it, and long term, we really don't like to do it," says the official. But, "when your species is almost gone, you just need animals and that matters more than genes right now—these are two of the youngest, healthiest animals in the population." He adds that Suci and Harapan's parents, now dead, were unrelated. (Read more Cincinnati stories.)

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