Critically endangered Sumatran elephant born in Indonesia

A critically endangered Sumatran elephant was born in western Indonesia over the weekend, according to officials, giving renewed hope to conservation efforts after several other baby elephant and rhino births in recent months.

Weighing about 108 kilograms (238 pounds), the yet-to-be-named male calf was born at the Way Kambas National Park in Lampung province in southern Sumatra, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry said Sunday.

The calf was in good health and his mother Riska was being monitored after giving birth on Saturday, the ministry said.

Riska had a female calf in 2017.

The new addition to the elephant herd at Way Kambas comes after a baby Sumatran rhino was born there in September and another baby elephant was born at a different national park in Sumatra that same month.

“Hopefully the birth of various wildlife indicates conservation efforts for protected species in the National Park… have been executed well,” said Satyawan Pudyatmoko, a conservation official.

In this photo taken on October 7, 2023, a male Sumatran elephant, estimated to be 15 years old, walks away after being installed a GPS collar during a joint operation led by the Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency to install GPS collars on wild Sumatran elephants to prevent human-elephant conflict at the protected forest in Pangkalan Lesung, Central East Sumatra. – Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry estimates that the number of Sumatran elephants in Riau province, Sumatra, remains between 200 and 300. (Photo by WAHYUDI / AFP)

According to the World Wildlife Fund, Sumatran elephants are on the brink of extinction with only about 2,400-2,800 left in the world.

The elephant population is threatened by rampant poaching for their tusks, which are prized in the illegal wildlife trade.

The archipelago nation faces an ongoing battle against wildlife crime and several elephant poisoning cases have been reported in recent years.

Deforestation has reduced the critically endangered elephants’ natural habitat and brought them into increasing conflict with humans.