Passport
Full Episode
Rhinoceros

Among the most ancient of animals, rhinoceroses thrived for millions of years before meeting their most deadly enemy: humans.

During the past century, the rhinos of Africa and Asia have been pushed out of their habitats and hunted nearly to extinction for their horns, which are believed — erroneously — to possess healing properties. Now, thanks to the efforts of conservationists and scientists, the rhinos are on their way back.

With NATURE’S Rhinoceros, wildlife filmmaker Nigel Marven brings you face-to-face with the world’s five species of rhino, each struggling, with varying degrees of success, for their continued survival. For some rhinos, the future may rely on breeding programs, such as at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, where Sumatran rhinoceros Emi is now nearing the end of her third successful pregnancy, having already given birth to Andalas and Suci, the only two Sumatran rhinos ever to be born in captivity.

Transcript Print

Man: WE MOVE ON NOW TO LOT NUMBER 200, AND OFF WE GO.

100,000, I'VE GOT 100,000.

AT 105, SECOND AT 105, NOW DOING 115.

120,000.

124, BID AT 124, 126... Narrator: RANCHERS IN SOUTH AFRICA ARE BIDDING BIG MONEY TO STOCK THEIR RANCHES WITH AN EXTRAORDINARY BEAST -- THE RHINOCEROS.

ONCE CRITICALLY ENDANGERED, WHITE RHINOS ARE NOW HEADING OUT ON THE LONG ROAD TO RECOVERY.

FROM AFRICA TO ASIA, FIVE KINDS OF RHINO ARE STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE IN THE 21st CENTURY -- EACH ONE ON ITS OWN SEPARATE JOURNEY.

Man: SHE'S GOING TO CHARGE!

LOOK!

Narrator: FOR SOME, SCIENCE MAY BE THE KEY TO THEIR FUTURE.

THAT LOOKS LIKE THE HEART RIGHT THERE, YOU CAN SEE IT BEATING.

Narrator: ACROSS SAVANNAH, INTO SWAMPS, AND HIGH IN MOUNTAIN JUNGLES, IT'S TAKING HIGH TECHNOLOGY AND HIGH SECURITY TO PUT THESE INCREDIBLE HULKS FROM PREHISTORY BACK ON THE RANGE.

♪ IT'S NOT THAT EASY BEING GREEN ♪ HMM.

HMM, I GUESS IT Narrator: THE AFRICAN SAVANNAH.

HOME OF ONE OF THE LAST GIANTS -- THE WHITE RHINOCEROS.

THEY'RE PACHYDERMS, WHICH MEANS THEY'RE THICK-SKINNED, UP TO AN INCH IN PLACES, ALTHOUGH THE SKIN ON THE FACE IS ALMOST AS SOFT AND SMOOTH AS HUMAN SKIN.

AND THEY'RE BIG.

EACH THREE-TOED FOOT MUST BEAR A TON OF PRESSURE.

A RHINO CAN WEIGH 8,000 POUNDS.

BUT FOR ALL THEIR MUSCLE AND BULK, THESE CREATURES ARE STRICTLY VEGETARIAN.

THEY CAN CONSUME 100 POUNDS OF GRASS IN A DAY.

THEY'RE BUILT TO SURVIVE IN THIS TOUGH, DRY TERRAIN.

A RHINO'S TAIL EVEN MAKES A DECENT FLY SWATTER.

PERHAPS THEIR ONLY WEAKNESS IS POOR EYESIGHT.

BUT ADULT RHINOS HAVE FEW NATURAL PREDATORS, AND THEY'RE WELL PROTECTED BY THAT FANTASTIC HORN.

IT CAN GROW THREE INCHES A YEAR.

THEY ALSO HAVE A FINE SENSE OF SMELL.

AND THOSE SWIVELING EARS CAN PICK UP SOUNDS FROM CREATURES THAT COULD THREATEN THEIR YOUNG.

TODAY, THESE HORNED HERBIVORES ARE ONLY FOUND IN AFRICA AND ASIA.

BUT IN THE PAST, AT LEAST 300 SPECIES ROAMED THE WORLD.

AND NOT JUST IN THE TROPICS.

THEY EVEN TURNED UP IN GREAT BRITAIN.

IN ROCK QUARRIES, IT'S STILL POSSIBLE TO FIND EVIDENCE THAT WOOLLY RHINOS WERE PRESENT HERE IN ANCIENT TIMES, FROM HALF A MILLION TO 30,000 YEARS AGO, WHEN THE SOUTHERN HALF OF THE COUNTRY WAS A VAST SWATH OF SEMI-FROZEN TUNDRA.

THEIR SKULLS ARE REGULARLY UNEARTHED, BUT A HORN IS A RARE FIND.

UP TO FIVE FEET LONG, THEY'RE MADE FROM THE SAME SUBSTANCE AS OUR FINGERNAILS AND DON'T FOSSILIZE EASILY.

PRESERVED TEETH CAN EVEN CONTAIN TRACES OF THE RHINO'S LAST MEAL.

[ SIREN SOUNDS ] IT'S A BLAST FROM THE PAST, A WOOLLY RHINOCEROS, A MEGA-MAMMAL FROM THE LAST ICE AGE.

IMAGINE IF ONE WERE REALLY ALIVE TODAY.

IT WOULD STAND SIX FEET TALL AT THE SHOULDER, DWARFING THE BIGGEST CATTLE WE HAVE NOW.

THAT IMMENSE FLATTENED HORN WAS HANDY IN DEFENSE, BUT ULTIMATELY IT COULDN'T PREVENT THE WOOLLY RHINO'S EXTINCTION.

IT WAS HUNTED BY PREHISTORIC PEOPLE.

TODAY, IN AFRICA, PRESENT-DAY PEOPLE ARE PUSHING RHINOS TO THE VERY EDGE OF EXTINCTION.

96% OF BLACK RHINOS HAVE BEEN SLAUGHTERED BY POACHERS.

THIS IS THEIR LAST SANCTUARY -- UMFOLOZI, IN SOUTH AFRICA.

BUT, INCREDIBLY, THERE ARE NOW TOO MANY BLACK RHINOS FOR THIS NATIONAL PARK.

WORKING WITH THE WORLD WILDLIFE FUND, THE PARK IS CAPTURING RHINOS HERE TO BEGIN THE REPOPULATION OF THE REST OF AFRICA.

IT'S HARD ENOUGH TO DART A RHINO TRAVELING AT 40 MILES AN HOUR FROM A HELICOPTER.

BUT THEN THAT RHINO HAS TO BE REMOVED FROM THICK BUSH, ALL TWO TONS OF IT.

THE DRUG DART HAS IMMOBILIZED THE RHINO SO IT CAN BE CHECKED AND PREPARED FOR TRAVEL.

BUT IF IT'S NOT REVIVED WITHIN HALF AN HOUR, THERE'S A BIG RISK TO ITS HEALTH.

THE ANTIDOTE GOES IN, AND THE RHINO RESPONDS RAPIDLY.

HE MUST BE MOVED BEFORE HE'S COMPLETELY AWAKE.

BUT EVEN SPECIALLY DESIGNED TRANSPORT VEHICLES CAN'T ALWAYS GET THROUGH THE BUSH.

MANY PARTS OF UMFOLOZI NATIONAL PARK IN KWAZULU-NATAL ARE SO INACCESSIBLE THAT THE WILDLIFE CAPTURE TEAM RELIES ON A RUSSIAN M.I.8 HELICOPTER TO PICK UP SOME OF THE BLACK RHINOS SELECTED FOR THE PROJECT.

THE ROTORS BUFFET THE GROUND CREW WITH 90-MILE-AN-HOUR WINDS.

IT'S A DIFFICULT JOB FOR THE PILOT.

WITH THE PRECIOUS CARGO DANGLING UNCONTROLLABLY BELOW, HE MUST AVOID THE TREES... AND BEAT THE CLOCK.

THE MEN FROM KWAZULU-NATAL ARE WIDELY REGARDED AS THE WORLD'S TOP GAME-CAPTURE TEAM.

THEY'RE MOVING THESE RHINOS AS PART OF WWF'S BLACK RHINO RANGE EXPANSION PROJECT.

BEFORE BEING MOVED, THE HORN TIP IS CUT OFF TO PREVENT THE RHINO FROM HURTING ITSELF.

BUT IT WILL GROW BACK.

HOLES ARE DRILLED, AND AN IDENTITY MICROCHIP AND RADIO TRANSMITTER PLACED SECURELY INSIDE.

THIS OPERATION DOESN'T HURT THE RHINO.

THERE ARE NO NERVES IN THE HORN.

TENS OF THOUSANDS OF RHINOS HAVE BEEN KILLED FOR THEIR HORNS.

RHINO HORN CLIPPINGS ARE WORTH THREE TIMES THE PRICE OF GOLD ON THE BLACK MARKET.

AT THE ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY IN LONDON, DR. RAJ AMIN KEEPS A WARY EYE ON THIS HIGHLY ILLEGAL TRADE.

Amin: THE FIVE SPECIES OF RHINOS ARE CRITICALLY ENDANGERED.

OVER 80% OF THE POPULATION HAS DECLINED IN THE LAST 40 YEARS.

THE MAIN REASON FOR THAT IS THE HORN ITSELF.

THE MAJORITY OF THE RHINOS HAVE BEEN POACHED BECAUSE OF THIS.

THIS WAS ONE OF THE MAJOR REASONS FOR THE DECLINE IN RHINOS.

THIS IS A JAMBIYA.

Stern: THESE KNIVES ARE AN ESSENTIAL ACCESSORY FOR MEN IN YEMEN, AND THE MOST DESIRABLE HAVE RHINO-HORN HANDLES.

BUT EDUCATION INITIATIVES AND A FATWA AGAINST THE USE OF RHINO HORN MEANS THIS TRADE IS DECLINING.

YET RHINO HORN IS STILL USED FOR ANOTHER, MUCH BIGGER MARKET.

THE PRIMARY USE FOR RHINO HORN IN TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE IS FOR THE TREATMENT OF A NUMBER OF AILMENTS RANGING FROM FEVER TO STROKES.

Stern: RHINOS ARE FIGHTING AGAINST THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF TRADITION HERE.

AND YET ALL THE TESTING DONE SO FAR IS CONCLUSIVE -- Amin: THERE IS NO EVIDENCE AT ALL THAT ANY CONSTITUENTS OF RHINO HORN HAS ANY MEDICAL PROPERTY.

MEDICALLY, IT'S THE SAME AS ACTUALLY CHEWING YOUR NAILS.

Stern: TO DISCOURAGE THE TRADE, DR. AMIN'S GROUP IS WORKING WITH HIGHLY SOPHISTICATED TECHNOLOGY.

WE ARE LOOKING AT THE CONSTITUENTS OF RHINO HORN.

Stern: YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.

SO RHINO HORN TAKES ON DISTINCTIVE CHEMICAL CHARACTERISTICS FROM THE FOOD THE RHINO HAS BEEN EATING.

Amin: THESE ELEMENTS GET ABSORBED INTO THE RHINO HORN THROUGH THE DIGESTIVE PROCESSES.

WHAT WE DO IS, WE TAKE A SMALL PORTION OF THE HORN, AND THEN WE RUN THREE DIFFERENT TESTS TO WORK OUT THE LEVELS OR CONCENTRATIONS OF THE DIFFERENT ELEMENTS AND ISOTOPES -- FOR EXAMPLE, CARBON, NITROGEN, AND STRONTIUM.

AND THIS WILL GIVE US A CHEMICAL FINGERPRINT FOR THE RHINOS IN ONE PARTICULAR AREA.

THE DATABASE ITSELF WILL BE ABLE TO, HOPEFULLY, IDENTIFY WHERE THE HORN CAME FROM, SO THAT WHEN WE GET A CONFISCATED HORN, SAY, FOR EXAMPLE, IN SINGAPORE, WHAT WE WILL DO IS USE THE ACTUAL FINGERPRINT FROM THAT SAMPLE AND COMPARE IT AGAINST THE DATABASE.

AND FROM THAT, WE'LL BE ABLE TO TELL NOT ONLY THE SPECIES OF THE RHINO, BUT PINPOINT, RIGHT, WHICH POPULATION THAT HORN CAME FROM.

AND THIS WILL HELP LAW-ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES TO TARGET THOSE AREAS AND HOPEFULLY SHUT DOWN TRADE ROUTES.

Stern: HOPEFULLY, DR. AMIN WILL NEVER HAVE TO ANALYZE THE HORNS OF THE RHINOS FROM THE BLACK RHINO RANGE EXPANSION PROJECT.

THEY'RE PROTECTED FOR LIFE.

BUT OUR BAD-TEMPERED CAPTIVES DON'T SEEM TO APPRECIATE WHAT'S BEING DONE FOR THEM.

LAST TIME WE SAW THEM, THEY WERE COMATOSE.

NOW THE DRUGS HAVE WORN OFF.

SO THEY'RE DISORIENTED AND FRIGHTENED.

IT'S EASY TO SEE HOW THEY'VE EARNED THE REPUTATION FOR BEING SUCH AGGRESSIVE CREATURES.

FORTUNATELY, THE TEAM KNOWS HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM.

A WHITE FLAG LURES THE SHORTSIGHTED ANIMALS INTO THEIR OWN PRIVATE QUARTERS.

THEY'LL STAY IN THESE PENS, OR BOMAS, FOR FOUR WEEKS TO PREPARE FOR THEIR JOURNEY TO THEIR NEW HOMES.

WILDLIFE VET DAVE COOPER EXPLAINS THE STRATEGY.

[ WHISTLING ] Cooper: WE'VE LEARNED FROM, BY TRIAL AND ERROR, THAT KEEPING THEM IN A BOMA ENVIRONMENT FOR THE MINIMUM OF FOUR WEEKS, FOUR TO SIX WEEKS, MEANS THAT THEY SETTLE DOWN, AND NOT ONLY DO THEY SETTLE DOWN, MOST IMPORTANTLY, THEY GET USED TO THESE BOXES.

WE FIND THAT IF WE HAD JUST PUT THE ANIMALS STRAIGHT FROM THE VELDT INTO A BOX LIKE THIS, AND TRANSPORT THEM TO THEIR NEW DESTINATION, THEY WOULD FIGHT THE CRATE ALL THE WAY, AND AS A RESULT WOULD INJURE THEMSELVES.

BY THE TIME THESE RHINO ARE READY TO LEAVE HERE, THEY GET SO USED TO THESE BOXES THAT THEY PROBABLY SLEEP FOR ALMOST THE ENTIRE DURATION OF THEIR JOURNEY.

Stern: THE BLACK RHINOCEROS ISN'T THE FIRST RHINO SPECIES TO BE RESCUED.

A CENTURY AGO, HUNTING LED TO THE WHITE RHINO BEING PRONOUNCED EXTINCT.

THEN, IN 1895, A POPULATION OF LESS THAN 50 ANIMALS WAS DISCOVERED IN -- WHERE ELSE?

UMFOLOZI.

THE NAME, 'WHITE,' ISN'T ABOUT COLOR.

WHITE RHINO IS A MISTRANSLATION OF THE ORIGINAL DUTCH SETTLER NAME, 'WIDE RHINO,' REFERRING TO THEIR MASSIVE MOUTHS.

NOW THAT WHITE RHINOS ARE PROTECTED, THEY'RE CHARGING BACK.

MANY MORE CALVES ARE BEING BORN.

A FEMALE CAN HAVE TEN OR MORE IN HER LIFETIME OF 45 YEARS.

AND WITH FEW NATURAL PREDATORS, THE BABIES HAVE THRIVED.

THIS FOUR-MONTH-OLD CALF IS PRACTICING CHARGING WITH HIS FAVORITE PLAYMATES.

THE CATTLE EGRETS DON'T ENJOY IT QUITE AS MUCH.

IN JUST EIGHT YEARS' TIME, HE'LL BE FULLY GROWN.

HIS PLAY IS PREPARATION FOR LATER LIFE.

AS AN ADULT, HE MAY HAVE TO JOUST FOR THE RIGHT TO MATE.

WHITE RHINOS ARE NORMALLY PEACEABLE.

BUT WHEN MALES COME TOGETHER, THINGS CAN GET ROUGH.

THIS CURLED TAIL IS A SURE SIGN OF AN AGGRESSIVE INTENT.

THESE TWO-TON HULKS CAN INFLICT A LOT OF DAMAGE, JABBING UPWARDS WITH THEIR HORNS.

YET MOST CONFRONTATIONS ARE LIMITED TO MACHO PUSHING AND POSTURING, UNTIL ONE CONTESTANT BACKS DOWN.

NORMALLY, WHITE RHINOS ARE MUCH MORE SOCIABLE.

IN THE MOST POPULAR WALLOWS, THEY LUXURIATE TOGETHER AND SIT OUT THE HOTTEST PART OF THE DAY, EVEN IN THE PRESENCE OF ELEPHANTS.

THE WHITE RHINO IS AN INCREDIBLE SUCCESS STORY.

THEIR POPULATION HAS GONE FROM LESS THAN 50 TO AROUND 12,000.

NOW YOU CAN EVEN GET SURPLUS ANIMALS AT AUCTION.

UMFOLOZI'S ANNUAL GAME AUCTION IS ONE OF THE FEW PLACES YOU CAN LEGALLY BUY A RHINO.

SOME GAME RANCHERS WILL HOPE TO SNAP UP SEVEN OR EIGHT.

Man: THIS IS THE FIRST AUCTION THAT WE'RE ATTENDING THIS YEAR.

AND WE ARE HOPING TO BUY WHITE RHINO.

IT'S A MUCH BETTER TOURISM ANIMAL THAN THE BLACK RHINO.

THE BLACK RHINO TEND TO BE NEAR DENSER VEGETATION, WHEREAS THE WHITE RHINO TENDS TO HAVE THE OPEN GRASSLANDS, SO THEY'RE MUCH MORE VISIBLE FOR THE TOURISTS.

Stern: HE WANTS TO PAY 100,000 RAND, $15,000, PER RHINO.

AUCTION -- ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.

Auctioneer: SO WE MOVE ON NOW TO LOT NUMBER 200.

LOT NUMBER 200, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IS THE FEMALE -- A TOTAL OF ONE, AND OFF WE GO.

100,000, BID AT 100,000?

SURELY YOU WANT 80,000, 80,000, THANK YOU, 80, I'M BID THERE.

GIVE ME 90, 90,000 NOW, AT 90,000, 90,000 OVER HERE.

100,000, AT 105, 115, 120,000, 124 BID, 124, 126 HERE, AND THE HAMMER IS UP, AND SURELY NOW AT 126, ROUND THE RING NOW, AT 126,000, FOLKS, ALL THROUGH.

AND I THINK THAT DESERVES A VERY, VERY BIG HAND, FOLKS.

126,000, BUYER NUMBER 18.

Man: WE SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT MAYBE ONE OF THE EARLIER ONES.

THERE WERE A FEW THAT WENT QUITE EARLY FOR 105,000 EACH.

BUT WE'RE HAPPY.

THIS IS OUR ONE THAT'S ONE OF OUR, ONE OF THE FEMALES WE BOUGHT.

WELL, THEY'LL PROBABLY BE ON THE RESERVE WITHIN THE NEXT EIGHT OR NINE DAYS.

Stern: PRIVATE WILDLIFE RESERVES WANT TO DIP INTO THE ESTIMATED $10 BILLION A YEAR TOURISM BUSINESS IN SOUTH AFRICA.

CHEETAHS ARE POPULAR.

BUT THEY DON'T HAVE THE PULL OF THE BIG FIVE -- ELEPHANT, BUFFALO, LION, LEOPARD, AND OF COURSE RHINO.

RHINOS ARE ALSO VALUABLE TO THE OTHER WILDLIFE ON THE AFRICAN PLAINS.

AS GIANT HERBIVORES, THEY SPEND HALF THEIR LIVES FEEDING IN ORDER TO SUSTAIN THEIR MASSIVE BODIES.

THEY CAN MUNCH THEIR WAY THROUGH 100 POUNDS OF GRASS IN A SINGLE DAY.

AND IN RETURN, THEY PRODUCE WHAT EVERY LAWN NEEDS MOST.

RHINO DUNG IS RICH IN PARTIALLY DIGESTED VEGETATION.

SO, FOR SOME CREATURES, IT'S A VALUABLE FOOD SOURCE.

THESE DUNG BEETLES ARE PART OF A GREAT RECYCLING PROGRAM.

A MALE MAKES THE BALL AND ROLLS IT AWAY.

HE CAN TRAVEL OVER 200 FEET BEFORE HE BURIES IT UNDERGROUND FOR HIS BABIES.

THE YOUNG BEETLES FEED ON THE VEGETATION IN THE DUNG, BUT MUCH OF IT GETS LEFT BEHIND AND FERTILIZES THE THIN SOILS OF AFRICA.

FOR CATTLE EGRETS AND RED-BILLED OXPECKERS, RHINOS ARE A MOBILE DINER.

THE EGRETS FEED ON INSECTS DISTURBED BY THE RHINOS' PASSING.

THE OXPECKERS ARE HERE TO REMOVE OTHER, LESS WELCOME, GUESTS -- TICKS.

TICKS ARE BLOODSUCKERS.

THEIR RAZOR-SHARP MOUTHS CAN PIERCE THROUGH THE THINNEST PARTS OF THE RHINO'S SKIN.

OXPECKERS RELISH THESE TINY VAMPIRES.

THEY'LL GO JUST ABOUT ANYWHERE ON A RHINO TO GET THEM.

FOR OXPECKERS, A RHINO'S BACK IS THE CENTER OF THEIR SOCIAL WORLD.

HERE, THEY SING, DISPLAY, COURT MATES, FIGHT, AND FEED.

BUT DESPITE THEIR NEAR-CONSTANT PRESENCE, THERE ARE STILL SOME STUBBORN TICKS THAT EVEN OXPECKERS CAN'T REACH.

IN THESE CASES, RHINOS USE A HANDY RUBBING POST -- A TERMITE MOUND.

THE SQUASHED CORPSES OF THE TICKS BECOME PART OF THE MOUND ITSELF.

BUT EVEN FOR A FOUR-TON RHINO, TICKS AREN'T EASY TO CRUSH.

AND IT'S AMAZING HOW THE LITTLE THINGS CAN GET YOU DOWN.

WHEN THEY CAN, RHINOS SEEK RELIEF IN A SOOTHING MUD BATH.

A THICK COAT OF MUD CAN WARD OFF BITING INSECTS.

AND AS A BONUS, IT SOFTENS AND SHIELDS SENSITIVE SKIN FROM THE SUN.

GIVEN THE CHANCE, RHINOS WILL SNOOZE THROUGH THE MIDDAY HEAT TOTALLY ENCRUSTED IN MUD.

WHITE RHINOS ARE NOW SCATTERED ALL OVER THE SOUTHERN HALF OF AFRICA.

THAT MEANS IF DISEASE OR POACHERS HIT ONE POPULATION, THE SPECIES CAN STILL SURVIVE.

BACK AT THE GAME CAPTURE CENTER, FOUR WEEKS HAVE PASSED.

21 BLACK RHINOS HAVE BEEN SERVED FRESH-CUT ACACIA EVERY DAY.

IT TAKES A TEAM OF 40 MEN TO COLLECT THE FOOD.

BUT THIS IS THE RHINOS' LAST CATERED MEAL.

THEY'RE ABOUT TO BE RETURNED TO THE WILD.

Man: THERE, IF WE DROP THIS GUY HERE, WE COULD TAKE THIS GUY AND THE FEMALE.

Stern: SETTING THEM FREE TAKES CAREFUL PLANNING.

BARRING POACHING, 50% OF BLACK RHINO DEATHS OCCUR FROM FIGHTING.

THEIR RESCUERS DON'T WANT TO CREATE CONDITIONS FOR CONFLICT.

THIS IS SOMETHING THAT COULD HELP KEEP THE PEACE -- THE RHINOS' OWN DUNG.

EACH DAY, DUNG FROM EVERY SINGLE RHINO IS COLLECTED FROM THE BOMAS.

IT THEN TAKES A JOURNEY OUT TO THE NEW ZULULAND RHINO RESERVE.

IT TURNS OUT THAT RHINO DUNG IS A SENSORY MESSAGE BOARD, THE FULCRUM OF RHINO SOCIETY.

AND DR. LINKLATER INTENDS TO USE THIS TO THEIR ADVANTAGE.

Man: YOU CAN SEE THIS OLDER DUNG.

WE'RE JUST SUPPLEMENTING IT WITH SOME FRESH STUFF JUST BEFORE THE RELEASE.

WHEN WE GIVE THEM DUNG, EVEN THAT'S BEEN AGED FOR UP TO 32 DAYS, IT STILL CONVEYS MESSAGES TO THEM.

IT COMMUNICATES THE THINGS THAT THEY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THEIR ENVIRONMENT AND ABOUT THE OTHER RHINO AROUND THEM IN ORDER TO MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT WHERE TO LIVE AND WHO TO LIVE WITH.

THIS IS THE THING THAT IS FAMILIAR TO THEM, THAT WE PROVIDE IN THEIR ENVIRONMENT TO GIVE THEM A FOCUS SO THAT THEY DON'T RUSH AROUND THE LANDSCAPE QUITE SO MUCH AND THEY SETTLE QUICKLY INTO THEIR NEW HOME.

Stern: THE BIG RELEASE IS PLANNED WITH MILITARY PRECISION.

ALL 21 BLACK RHINOS ARE GOING TO THE ZULULAND RESERVE TODAY.

HOW WILL THE RHINOS REACT TO BEING RELEASED INTO UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY?

FORTUNATELY, THE TRANSMITTER IN THE HORN IS UNDAMAGED.

THIS IS CRUCIAL.

THE TRANSMITTED SIGNAL MAY BE THE ONLY WAY OF FINDING THE RHINOS AGAIN.

THIS FIRST WEEK IS THE MOST NERVE-RACKING.

IF THE RHINOS ARE MOVING AROUND A LOT, IT'S A SURE SIGN OF DISTRESS, AND THEY'LL HAVE TO BE RECAPTURED.

DR. LINKLATER AND HIS TEAM TAKE READINGS EVERY DAY SO THEY CAN CHART THE MOVEMENTS OF EACH RHINO ACROSS THE 50,000-ACRE RESERVE.

Linklater: SHE'S OVER HERE, AND SO SHE'S HARDLY MOVED AGAIN TODAY.

Stern: GREAT NEWS.

HOPEFULLY THESE RHINOS WILL ESTABLISH A THRIVING POPULATION.

BUT WE CAN GET AN IDEA OF THEIR FUTURE BY MOVING SOUTH TO PHINDA GAME RESERVE.

IT'S RANGER SIMON MORGAN'S JOB TO KEEP AN EYE ON 15 BLACK RHINOS MOVED HERE LAST YEAR.

WHILE A GIRAFFE AND AN AFRICAN SIDENECK TURTLE KEEP AN EYE ON HIM.

THERE'S PLENTY OF WILDLIFE HERE.

THESE ARE BEAUTIFUL NYALA ANTELOPES.

SIMON SPOTS A WARTHOG SO IMMERSED IN MUD, HE ALMOST DISAPPEARS.

BUT HE ISN'T AS ELUSIVE AS A BLACK RHINO.

THE TRANSMITTERS IN THE RHINO HORNS ARE STILL WORKING, AFTER A YEAR.

SO SIMON AND HIS TRACKERS CAN KEEP TABS ON THEIR MOVEMENTS PRETTY EASILY.

BUT THEY NEED TO SEE THEM TO CHECK THEIR CONDITION.

AND GETTING THAT GLIMPSE TAKES A LOT OF FIELD CRAFT.

YOU CAN SEE IT'S NOT FRESH.

OKAY, IF WE HAVE A LOOK, FIND A LITTLE PIECE IN HERE -- THERE WE GO.

YOU CAN TELL THIS IS BLACK RHINO DUNG, BECAUSE AT THE TOP OF THE BRANCH, IT'S CUT OFF AT 45°. SO WHEN THEY'RE BROWSING, THEY BITE OFF THE BRANCH, AND THEY LEAVE THIS 45° CUT.

AND AS THEY'RE CHEWING, THEY'LL CUT THE OTHER SIDE, AS WELL.

ALL RIGHT.

LET'S GO, LET'S CONTINUE ON.

HERE IS A BROWSE POINT FOR BLACK RHINOS.

IT IS FRESH.

IT IS FRESH.

I CAN SEE IT.

AND THERE'S ANOTHER ONE.

ANOTHER ONE OVER HERE.

OKAY, EXCELLENT. LET'S CARRY ON.

Stern: THE RHINO MUST BE NEARBY.

THE CALLS OF OXPECKERS COULD GIVE AWAY THE RHINO'S POSITION.

BUT NOW IT'S THE TRACKERS THAT COULD BE EXPOSED -- BY A CLAMORING GROUP OF CRESTED GUINEA FOWL.

[ BIRDS CALLING ] [ CALLS ] [ BIRDS CALLING ] [ WHISTLES ] Stern: SHAKING A SOCK FULL OF TALCUM POWDER ENSURES THEY'RE DOWNWIND.

SO THE RHINO WON'T SMELL THEIR APPROACH.

IT'S A BIG FEMALE.

[ Linklater whispering ] I haven't seen her for more than two weeks.

So at least once every two weeks I like to get a look at her.

Stern: THEY'VE GOT TO BE CAREFUL.

ADULT RHINOS HAVE TERRIBLE EYESIGHT, BUT THEIR HEARING IS RAZOR-SHARP.

AND THEY CAN CHARGE AT 40 MILES PER HOUR.

IT WAS PROBABLY ONLY A MOCK CHARGE.

YOU ALL RIGHT?

Stern: BUT THIS CAN NEVER BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED.

EACH OF THE 15 RHINOS MOVED TO PHINDA ARE THRIVING, SAFE AND PROTECTED.

SIMON AND THE TRACKERS ARE LEARNING MORE ABOUT BLACK RHINOS EVERY DAY, INFORMATION THAT COULD HELP WITH FUTURE MOVEMENTS OF RHINOS.

AND TODAY THERE'S A REAL SURPRISE.

[ Whispers ] See the little calf?

Yeah.

Stern: THIS IS THE FIRST CALF BORN TO THIS BLACK RHINO PROJECT.

All right, let's move off quietly.

Okay.

Stern: WWF'S BLACK RHINO RANGE EXPANSION PROJECT IS OPENING UP MORE LAND FOR THEM.

AND WITH MORE TERRITORY, THEIR BIRTH RATES ARE RISING.

WITH PROJECTS LIKE THIS, THE FUTURE IS LOOKING BRIGHTER FOR THE AFRICAN RHINOS.

A WHITE RHINO CALMLY GRAZING IS NOW BECOMING COMMON.

PERHAPS IN THE FUTURE BLACK RHINOS WILL DELICATELY PLUCK LEAVES ACROSS THIS CONTINENT, TOO.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THEIR COUSINS, THE RHINOS OF ASIA?

TO FIND THE LARGEST ASIAN RHINO, YOU HAVE TO GO TO A PLACE FULL OF LEAVES.

ASSAM, IN NORTHEAST INDIA, IS PROUD OF ITS TEA-PRODUCING REPUTATION.

AND IT'S ALSO PROUD OF ITS RHINO POPULATION.

BUT AT THE START OF THE 20th CENTURY, THERE WERE ONLY 12 INDIAN ONE-HORN RHINOS LEFT IN THEIR GREAT STRONGHOLD OF KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK.

TO FIND OUT HOW THE RHINOS ARE FARING TODAY, PARK OFFICIALS ARE UNDERTAKING A COMPREHENSIVE SURVEY.

IN ADDITION TO THE RHINOS, THE PARK IS FAMOUS FOR OTHER RARE WILDLIFE.

THESE ARE JUNGLE FOWL, WILD ANCESTORS OF DOMESTIC CHICKENS.

GRASSLANDS ARE THE KEY HABITAT OF THE PARK.

THEY'RE MANAGED BY SYSTEMATIC BURNING, TO PROVIDE FRESH GROWTH FOR THE RHINOS.

A LARGE NUMBER OF WILD BUFFALO ALSO BENEFITS.

RARE DEER, SUCH AS HOG AND SWAMP DEER, ARE DOING WELL UNDER THE PROTECTION OF THE PARK.

THERE'S EVEN A GLORIOUS HERD OF AROUND 1,000 ASIAN ELEPHANTS, ALL TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE WEALTH OF GRASSLAND.

BUT THESE ANIMALS ARE JUST DISTRACTIONS TODAY.

THIS SURVEY CONCERNS ONLY ONE AMAZING CREATURE -- THE GREAT INDIAN ONE-HORNED RHINO, OR THE BOILERPLATE RHINO, AS SOME HAVE CALLED IT, FOR THE RIVETED LOOK OF ITS INCREDIBLE ARMOR.

IT WAS FIRST DESCRIBED IN THE 13th CENTURY BY EXPLORER MARCO POLO.

HE'D HOPED TO FIND THE MYTHICAL UNICORN AND WASN'T IMPRESSED BY WHAT HE SAW.

HE WROTE, 'THEY ARE VERY UGLY BRUTES TO LOOK AT.'

YET THE NAME, 'UNICORN,' STUCK.

SCIENCE CALLS THEM, IN MARCO POLO'S TIME, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN SO MANY OF THESE CREATURES ON THE FLOOD PLAINS OF INDIA'S RIVERS THAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPOSSIBLE TO COUNT THEM ALL.

TODAY, THEY ARE FOUND ONLY ON THE BRAHMAPUTRA RIVER IN ASSAM AND NEPAL.

AND COUNTING THEM IS DIFFICULT BECAUSE THERE ARE SO FEW.

EVEN AGAINST THE ELEPHANTS THAT FEED NEXT TO THEM, THE RHINOS LOOK INCREDIBLY PREHISTORIC.

PERHAPS THAT'S BECAUSE THEY'VE REMAINED VIRTUALLY UNCHANGED FOR SOME 25 MILLION YEARS.

THERE ARE NO OXPECKERS HERE.

INSTEAD, MYNA BIRDS FILL THAT NICHE.

ALTHOUGH TOLERANT OF THE MYNAS' PROBING, RHINOS CAN BE IRASCIBLE AND QUICK TO ANGER.

WILDLIFE FILMMAKER NIGEL MARVEN FOLLOWED THE SURVEY TEAM FOR THIS PROGRAM, BUT GOT INTO TROUBLE WHEN HIS CREW GOT TOO CLOSE TO A FEMALE WITH A SMALL BABY.

Man: SHE'S GOING TO CHARGE!

LOOK AT THE SPEED!

THE SPEED -- OH!

[ GRUNTING ] THAT GRUNT -- SHE'S WARNING US.

ONE AND A HALF TONS AT FULL POWER.

[ GRUNTING ] OKAY, SHE'S TAILED OFF.

Marven: I'M PRODUCING THIS RHINO FILM FOR THE 'NATURE' STRIP.

AND THAT WAS THE MOST EXCITING MOMENT IN MY WHOLE FILMMAKING CAREER.

WE SURPRISED HER.

YOU KNOW, SHE WAS JUST DEFENDING HER CALF.

AND THE TURN OF SPEED -- I MEAN, SHE MUST HAVE BEEN GOING 30 MILES PER HOUR.

AND YOU CAN SEE WHY PEOPLE IN INDIA AND NEPAL ARE KILLED BY RHINOS EVERY YEAR.

YOU'D HAVE HAD NO CHANCE AT ALL ON FOOT.

Stern: BACK WITH THE SURVEY, AND A REAL TREAT.

A BIG GROUP -- MAYBE 15 ADULTS, A CRASH OF RHINOS, AS THEY CALL IT.

IN FACT, THIS IS A RHINO NURSERY -- ALL FEMALES WITH CALVES.

IT'S COMPLETELY OUT OF BOUNDS TO ANY AGGRESSIVE MALES.

THE INDIAN RHINO'S NURSERIES MOVE WITH THE AVAILABILITY OF FRESH GRASS.

THE RESEARCHERS WERE LUCKY.

THEY PROBABLY WOULDN'T FIND THESE ANIMALS HERE TOMORROW.

MOST OF THE CALVES ARE JUST ONE OR TWO YEARS OLD.

SOME STILL ENJOY A DROP OF MILK FROM THEIR MOTHER.

BUT MOST OF THEM ARE EATING GRASS NOW.

THE CALVES WILL FINALLY LEAVE HOME AT THE AGE OF FOUR, WHEN THE FEMALE HAS HER NEXT BABY.

BUT UNTIL THEN, SHE IS A DEVOTED AND AGGRESSIVE PROTECTOR, EVEN TOWARDS OTHER MOTHERS.

DESPITE SOME SCARES, IT'S BEEN A GOOD DAY -- 45 RHINOS COUNTED IN ALL -- A BIG IMPROVEMENT ON THE 12 RHINOS OF 100 YEARS AGO.

AND THEY'VE COVERED ONLY A SMALL PORTION OF THE PARK SO FAR.

MORNING, AND IN ORDER TO BE IN PLACE EARLY, THE TEAM HAS STAYED OVERNIGHT IN ONE OF THE RANGER HUTS SCATTERED ABOUT THE RESERVE.

THERE ARE 120 RANGERS IN KAZIRANGA.

AND THEY SACRIFICE A LOT FOR THE JOB.

THEY SPEND 300 DAYS EVERY YEAR AWAY FROM THEIR FAMILIES, LIVING WITH FOUR OR FIVE COLLEAGUES IN VERY CRAMPED QUARTERS.

BUT THEY ARE IN A POSITION TO REACT TO EVENTS IN THEIR AREA.

RANGERS FROM THE CENTRAL PARK HEADQUARTERS, 20 MILES AWAY, COULD NEVER HOPE TO GET OUT TO THESE REMOTE OUTPOSTS IN TIME TO STOP POACHERS.

DURING THE WET SEASON, THE PARK FLOODS, AND THE HUTS BECOME LITTLE ISLANDS IN THE SWAMP.

ALL PATROLS AROUND KAZIRANGA MUST BE MADE BY CANOE.

THE RANGERS CHECK FOR SNARES ON RHINO PATHS THROUGH THE HIGH GRASSES.

THAT'S RISKY, ON FOOT.

AN ANGRY RHINO MAKES NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN PROTECTOR AND POACHER.

BEING GORED BY THAT FORMIDABLE HORN IS NOT THE ONLY RISK INDIAN RHINOS ALSO BITE.

THIS RANGER WAS BADLY BITTEN IN THE LEG.

THE DEDICATION OF THESE MEN IS THE MAIN REASON THAT RHINO POACHING IN KAZIRANGA HAS DROPPED FROM 50 ANIMALS EVERY YEAR TO JUST SINGLE FIGURES.

EVEN THE TALL GRASSES ARE AN OBSTACLE TO THE JOB.

BUT THERE'S A PERFECT SOLUTION.

TO SEE OVER 12 FEET OF ELEPHANT GRASS, YOU NEED AN ELEPHANT.

RHINOS OFTEN FEED RIGHT NEXT TO ELEPHANTS.

SO THE ELEPHANTS BRING THE SURVEY TEAM CLOSER THAN A VEHICLE EVER COULD.

THEY CAN ALSO HEAR THE CALLS OF ANOTHER ENDANGERED RESIDENT -- [ CALLING ] A BLACK-BREASTED PARROTBILL.

IT'S VERY RARE.

IF THESE RHINO SWAMPLANDS DISAPPEAR, THESE BIRDS WILL BECOME EXTINCT, ALONG WITH A HOST OF UNSEEN SWAMP INHABITANTS.

THE FIRST RHINO OF THE DAY IS A HUGE MALE.

THERE'S GOING TO BE A FIGHT.

INDIAN RHINO MALES DO USE THEIR SINGLE HORN IN COMBAT, BUT SPARINGLY.

THE REAL DAMAGE IS DONE BY THE VICIOUS TEETH IN THEIR LOWER JAW.

FIGHTS CAN BE LONG, BITTER, AND NOISY.

AND THEY CAN BE LETHAL.

THIS IS JUST A SHORT SCUFFLE.

THE LOSER RUNS AWAY TO AVOID THOSE FLASHING TEETH.

IT'S NO MYSTERY WHY THEY WERE FIGHTING.

THERE ARE FEMALES HERE.

AND EVERY FEMALE SEEMS TO HAVE A CALF.

INDIAN RHINOS ARE PREGNANT FOR 16 MONTHS.

AND THEY NURSE THE BABY FOR AT LEAST A YEAR.

DURING THIS TIME, THEY'RE VERY VULNERABLE.

THIS IS GOOD TIGER COUNTRY, AND TIGERS ARE PREDATORS OF THESE YOUNG RHINO CALVES.

THE BABY IS VERY CURIOUS ABOUT THIS COMMUNAL DUNG PILE.

CHEMICAL COMMUNICATION IS IMPORTANT IN INDIAN RHINO SOCIETY.

THE CALF IS LEARNING ABOUT THAT ALREADY, AT JUST TWO WEEKS OLD.

THE INDIAN RHINO IS BREEDING WITH GREAT SUCCESS IN KAZIRANGA.

THERE'S JUST ONE PROBLEM -- THIS STRONGHOLD IS VIRTUALLY FULL.

IN ALL, THEY COUNTED OVER 1,600 IN THE PARK.

JUST LIKE IN AFRICA, SAFE PLACES FOR RHINOS TO RELOCATE ARE HARD TO FIND.

AND THIS SINGLE POPULATION IS VULNERABLE TO POACHING AND DISEASE.

SOME SORT OF BACKUP IS NEEDED.

HAVENS AROUND THE WORLD ARE STEPPING UP TO HELP.

THE CINCINNATI ZOO IS ONE FACILITY TRYING TO SECURE THE RHINOS' FUTURE.

BUT INDIAN RHINOS HAVE NEVER BRED WELL IN CAPTIVITY.

CAN STATE-OF-THE-ART TREATMENT FOR CHILDLESS HUMAN COUPLES IMPROVE THIS PERFORMANCE?

DR. MONICA STOOPS IS ONE OF CINCINNATI'S RHINO FERTILITY EXPERTS.

TODAY, SHE'S CONDUCTING AN ULTRASOUND SCAN ON A FEMALE.

YOU READY?

Man: YES.

IS SHE DOING OKAY?

AND WE'VE HIT HER RIGHT OVARY.

AND ON THAT OVARY, WE HAVE A FOLLICLE, AND THE FOLLICLE ITSELF CONTAINS AN EGG.

THIS PARTICULAR FEMALE IS VERY CLOSE TO OVULATING, OR RELEASING THE EGG.

AND SHE'S CLOSE TO COMING INTO HEAT, WHEN SHE WOULD BE RECEPTIVE TO A MALE.

Stern: SO NOW THE ZOO KNOWS EXACTLY WHEN THIS FEMALE WILL STAND THE BEST CHANCE OF GETTING PREGNANT.

BUT SHE MAY NEVER GET TO MEET THE PROSPECTIVE FATHER.

ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION ALLOWS THE RHINO DONOR TO COME FROM ANY ZOO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.

MONICA CAN CHOOSE FROM A LINEUP OF DEEP-FROZEN STUDS.

ALL SHE NEEDS IS A SAMPLE OF GOOD, HEALTHY, STRONG-SWIMMING SPERM.

Stoops: THE SAMPLE THAT YOU SEE HERE IS FROM ONE OF THE MOST GENETICALLY VALUABLE MALE INDIAN RHINOS.

WE SEE NICE, PROGRESSIVE SPERM THAT AREN'T GOING SIDEWAYS, AREN'T SWIMMING IN CIRCLES.

ONLY A FEW INDIAN RHINOS ARE REPRODUCING REGULARLY.

SO, BY DOING ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION, WE ARE HOPEFUL THAT WE CAN INCREASE THE GENETIC HEALTH OF THE POPULATION.

Stern: IT'S CAUSE FOR HOPE.

IN THE FUTURE, ZOOS MAY BE ABLE TO OFFER A GENETIC SAFETY NET TO INDIAN RHINOS IN CASE OF A DISASTER IN THE WILD.

BUT FOR THE LAST TWO SPECIES IN ASIA, DISASTER IN THE WILD HAS ALREADY HAPPENED.

THE RAINFORESTS OF SOUTHEAST ASIA SHELTER THE REMAINING RHINOS.

[ CHAINSAW BUZZING ] BUT EVERY SINGLE YEAR, AN AREA THE SIZE OF CONNECTICUT DISAPPEARS.

IT'S A FATAL DOUBLE WHAMMY -- ILLEGAL LOGGING THAT GIVES ACCESS TO POACHERS IN THEIR SEARCH FOR RHINO HORN.

THIS IS THE EXTREMELY ELUSIVE JAVAN RHINOCEROS.

FEW PEOPLE HAVE EVER SEEN ONE.

LIKE A MINIATURE INDIAN RHINO, IT'S THE ONLY OTHER SPECIES WITH A SINGLE HORN AND THAT BOLTED-ON-LOOKING ARMOR PLATING.

THERE MAY BE ONLY 50 OR 60 LEFT IN THE WILD, AND NONE IN CAPTIVITY.

IT'S ONLY BEEN FILMED A FEW TIMES.

THEIR FOREST HOME IS BEING PROTECTED, AND WE'VE SEEN THAT BOTH WHITE AND INDIAN RHINOS HAVE RECOVERED FROM EVEN SMALLER NUMBERS.

BUT THE SITUATION IS STILL DESPERATE.

PROTECTION WITHIN RESERVES IS NO GUARANTEE OF SURVIVAL.

BUT FOR THE THIRD RHINO SPECIES IN ASIA, THE SITUATION IS ACTUALLY WORSE.

THERE ARE MORE SUMATRAN RHINOS LEFT THAN JAVANS -- SOME 300 -- BUT THESE ANIMALS ARE SPREAD INCREDIBLY THIN ACROSS INDONESIA AND MALAYSIA.

MANY LIVE CLOSE TO HUMANS.

THAT MEANS THEIR FOREST HOME IS RAPIDLY DISAPPEARING, AND POACHING IS RIFE.

ONLY THESE MEN STAND IN THE WAY.

THEY MAKE UP AN R.P.U., OR RHINO PROTECTION UNIT, AT THE WAY KAMBAS NATIONAL PARK IN SUMATRA.

TO PROTECT THE 25 OR SO RHINOS HERE, IT'S SIX DAYS ON, TWO DAYS OFF, WITH EVERY MOMENT OF THE SIX DAYS SPENT IN THE FOREST, TRACKING RHINOS... AND POACHERS.

THERE'S PLENTY OF OTHER WILDLIFE HERE.

SIAMANGS ARE THE BIGGEST AND LOUDEST OF THE GIBBONS.

[ CALLING ] THEIR RESONATING CALLS CARRY MORE THAN THREE MILES.

[ CALLING ] [ SIAMANGS CALLING IN DISTANCE ] GETTING AROUND IN TREES SEEMS EASIER THAN GETTING THROUGH THE FOREST ON THE GROUND -- UNLESS YOU'RE FOLLOWING A RHINO PATH.

SUMATRAN RHINOS TRAVEL FOR MILES AND USE THE SAME TRACKS REGULARLY.

[ SPEAKING SUMATRAN LANGUAGE ] Stern: A GOOD RHINO FOOTPRINT GIVES THEM A LOT OF INFORMATION.

MEASURING THE SIZE HELPS DETERMINE THE AGE OF THE ANIMAL.

AND MARKS FROM THE RHINO'S FEET HELP THEM IDENTIFY AN INDIVIDUAL.

IT'S HARD GOING, BUT MADE EASIER BY THE RHINO'S TRAILBLAZING.

UNFORTUNATELY, RHINO TRAILS MAKE LIFE EASY FOR POACHERS, TOO.

A SNARE.

POACHERS LEAVE THEIR TRAPS ALONG THE TRACK, KNOWING THAT A RHINO WILL PASS BY SOONER OR LATER.

THIS SNARE WOULDN'T KILL A LARGE ANIMAL LIKE A RHINO RIGHT AWAY.

BUT IT COULD BREAK ITS LEG, AND OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS, BLOOD POISONING WOULD SET IN.

IT WOULD BE A LONG AND PAINFUL DEATH.

THIS UNIT WILL BREAK UP HUNDREDS OF SNARES EVERY YEAR, NOT ALL AIMED AT THE RHINOS, BUT MOST WITH THE POTENTIAL TO KILL THEM.

THIS TIME, THE RHINO WAS LUCKY.

AND THE RANGERS ARE LUCKY, TOO.

IT MAY BE WEEKS BETWEEN SIGHTINGS OF THIS ELUSIVE ANIMAL.

SUMATRANS ARE THE SMALLEST RHINO.

EVEN THE BIGGEST ARE NO TALLER THAN A GREAT DANE.

THEY'RE ALSO THE MOST GYMNASTIC.

MOST RHINOS TEND TO AVOID ANY FORM OF CLIMBING, BUT FALLEN LOGS AND STEEP HILLSIDES ARE NO BARRIER TO THE SUMATRAN.

THEY MOVE NIMBLY ALONG THEIR 100 OR SO MILES OF TRACKS, FEEDING ON 90 POUNDS OR MORE OF VEGETATION EVERY DAY, THOUGH MOST OF THEIR FEEDING IS DONE AT NIGHT.

FOR SOME REASON, THIS FEMALE HAS LITTLE FEAR OF MAN.

IT MAKES THIS PART OF THE RANGERS' JOB EASY.

BUT IT MAKES PROTECTING HER MUCH HARDER.

LIKE THE BLACK RHINO, SHE'S SOLITARY AND USES A PREHENSILE LIP TO PLUCK CHOICE LEAVES AND STRIP SAPLINGS.

CURIOUSLY, SUMATRANS HAVE A SPARSE COVERING OF LONG, COARSE HAIR OVER THEIR WHOLE BODY, A BIT OF A THROWBACK TO THEIR RELATIVE, THE WOOLLY RHINO.

ADD HAIR TO SKIN THAT AVERAGES ABOUT 1/2 INCH IN THICKNESS, AND YOU'VE GOT A LOT OF INSULATION FOR A TROPICAL FOREST.

THAT'S WHY SHE SPENDS MOST OF THE DAY HERE, IN A MUD WALLOW.

RHINOS DON'T JUST GO INTO THESE MUD POOLS TO COOL DOWN.

SHE'S COVERED IN BIG, BITING HORSEFLIES.

SO SHE ROLLS AROUND IN THE MUD TO GET RELIEF, AS WELL AS TO KEEP COOL.

SHE'S SPENT SOME TIME CUSTOMIZING HER WALLOW.

IT'S GOT TO BE JUST THE RIGHT LENGTH AND DEPTH TO PROVIDE ENOUGH COVER FROM THE FLIES AND THE SUN.

THANKS TO THE R.P.U.'S HARD WORK PROTECTING THESE ANCIENT CREATURES, IT'S STILL POSSIBLE TO FIND SUMATRAN RHINOS TODAY.

BUT IMAGINE STEPPING BACK 30,000 YEARS TO SEE THE LAST RHINOS TO LIVE IN BRITAIN.

WHAT AN ENCOUNTER THAT WOULD BE -- A WOOLLY RHINOCEROS.

[ GRUNTS ] AND HE'S NOT ALONE.

THIS IS THE SORT OF SCENE THAT WAS ONCE COMMON ACROSS EURASIA -- TWO MIGHTY WOOLLY RHINO MALES IN TERRITORIAL COMBAT.

THOSE FLATTENED FIVE-FOOT-LONG HORNS WOULD CERTAINLY HAVE MADE FORMIDABLE WEAPONS.

SADLY, WE'LL NEVER SEE THIS SCENE FOR REAL.

THE LAST OF THE WOOLLY RHINOS WERE SEEN 10,000 YEARS AGO.

TODAY, WE DO OUR BEST TO PROTECT CRITICALLY ENDANGERED SPECIES.

BUT IT'S NOT ALWAYS STRAIGHTFORWARD, AS RESEARCHERS AT THE CINCINNATI ZOO HAVE DISCOVERED.

SUMATRAN RHINOS HAVE GRACED ZOOS WORLDWIDE FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY.

BUT THERE HAD NEVER BEEN A SUMATRAN RHINO BABY BORN SUCCESSFULLY IN CAPTIVITY.

THERE WERE PLENTY OF MALES, PLENTY OF FEMALES, PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITY, BUT PRECIOUS FEW PREGNANCIES, AND NONE WHICH RESULTED IN A LIVE BIRTH.

IT WAS A MYSTERY, UNTIL CINCINNATI'S HIGH-TECH APPROACH FOUND OUT WHY.

THIS IS EMI.

SHE'S BEEN SPECIALLY TRAINED TO ACCEPT ALL THE PROCEDURES THAT COULD HELP CINCINNATI HELP HER HAVE A BABY.

LET'S SEE HOW YOU'RE DOING HERE, HUH?

Stern: FROM EMI, DR. TERRI ROTH DISCOVERED THAT IN ONE ASPECT, SUMATRAN RHINOS WERE UNLIKE ALL OTHERS.

OKAY, EMI, IT'S JUST ME.

Stern: SUMATRAN RHINOS ONLY OVULATE AFTER THEY'VE MATED.

ARMED WITH THIS INFORMATION, TERRI HAS BEEN MONITORING EMI'S TEMPERATURE AND PROVIDING HORMONES TO HELP HER BECOME PREGNANT.

NOW, AN ULTRASOUND CHECKS ON THE BABY'S PROGRESS.

LET'S SEE IF I CAN FIND A HEARTBEAT -- THAT'S TOUGH TO DO SOMETIMES.

OH, THAT MIGHT BE IT.

THERE, THAT LOOKS LIKE THE HEART RIGHT THERE, YOU CAN SEE IT BEATING.

Man: THAT LOOKS GOOD.

YEAH.

LET'S SEE, WE'RE AT 169 DAYS TODAY.

SO SHE'S MAKING GOOD PROGRESS.

Stern: THAT MEANS JUST ANOTHER 300 DAYS TO GO.

BUT FINALLY EMI AND TERRI'S 16-MONTH VIGIL WAS REWARDED.

THIS SPECIAL FOOTAGE FROM CINCINNATI ZOO SHOWS THE MOMENT OF BIRTH.

NOT ONLY DID EMI PRODUCE THE FIRST SUMATRAN CALF BORN IN CAPTIVITY IN 2001, SHE WENT ON TO PRODUCE THE SECOND BABY, TOO.

HERE SHE IS -- A TINY FEMALE CALLED SUCI, MEANING 'SACRED.'

THERE'S A SNACK.

Stern: SUCI IS A YEAR OLD HERE, AND STILL WITH HER MOTHER.

SHE IS DOING WELL.

AND EMI IS PREGNANT ONCE AGAIN.

HI, EMI!

Stern: ALL LIVING PROOF THAT SUMATRAN RHINOS HELD AROUND THE WORLD CAN BE USED TO PROTECT THE SPECIES.

READY, SUCI? HERE'S A BIG ONE.

THERE, GIRL.

HI, EM!

HI, EM!

THERE'S MY GIRL.

GOOD GIRL, EM!

Stern: SOMEDAY, RHINOS BORN IN CAPTIVITY COULD RE-COLONIZE THE WILD.

AS LONG AS POACHING IS STAMPED OUT AND ENOUGH HABITAT REMAINS, RHINO POPULATIONS CAN FLOURISH.

THE FABULOUS ARMOR-PLATED INDIAN RHINO'S MIRACULOUS RETURN FROM THE BRINK HAS SHOWN THAT IT'S POSSIBLE.

THE FUTURE LOOKS EVEN BRIGHTER FOR THE RHINOS OF AFRICA.

IN 30 OR 40 YEARS, THESE MAGNIFICENT ANIMALS COULD ONCE AGAIN ROAM FREE ACROSS THE ENTIRE CONTINENT.

GIVEN THE CHANCE, THESE ANCIENT INCREDIBLE HULKS HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO SURVIVE IN THE 21st CENTURY AND BEYOND.

10,000.

15? 15, YOU THINK?

20,000, 21,000?

600.

20.

18.5.

24. IT'S AT LEAST 40.

FORTY-FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND.

650, 650. 20.

THIS TEXTILE WOULD BE WORTH ABOUT A HALF A MILLION DOLLARS.

HALF A MILLION?

NO WAY. I KNEW IT.

IT'S JUST A BLANKET.

♪ IT'S NOT THAT EASY BEING GREEN ♪ HMM.

HMM, I GUESS IT [ BARKS ]