Hope as rare rhino calves filmed in Indonesia

Feb 28, 2011
This handout photo released by WWF shows a video grab of a Javan rhino and a male calf captured by hidden cameras in the jungle of the rhino sanctuary in Ujung Kulon National Park on the southwestern tip of Java island.

Hidden cameras have captured proof that Javan rhinos are breeding in Indonesia's Ujung Kulon National Park, the last redoubt for the endangered mammals, conservationists said Monday.

Footage of two adults with two calves was taken in November and December last year by cameras hidden in the jungle of the rhino sanctuary on the southwestern tip of Java island, environmental group WWF said.

"This is fantastic news because before these camera trap images surfaced, only 12 other Javan rhino births were recorded in the past decade," WWF-Indonesia Ujung Kulon programme chief Adhi Hariyadi said.

"The population in Ujung Kulon represents the last real hope for the survival of a species that is on the brink of extinction."

The video clip show two females with their calves, one a female aged about a year and the other a younger male. They enter a small clearing in the jungle and appear to approach the hidden camera.

Environmentalists had believed there were only about 40 Javan rhinos left in the wild, but the camera data have led them to believe there could now be up to 50.

Of five rhino species, three including the Javan are critically endangered, mainly due to the growing demand for rhino horn.

The horns are ground into powder and used in traditional Chinese and other Asian medicines, although they have no scientifically proven medicinal value.

Ujung Kulon National Park authority chief Agus Priambudi said the new footage would help conservationists protect the last wild Javan rhino population.

A handful of Javan rhinos are also believed to exist in Vietnam but conservationists say those individuals, if they are still alive, are not a sustainable population.

This image of a Javan rhino and calf from a camera trap is proof that the animals are breeding in Indonesia's national park -- the last redoubt of one of the world's most threatened mammals, environmental group WWF said Monday.

"The camera enables us to know the position of the rhinos, their sex and whether there are pregnant rhinos among them. It's very important for the breeding process and conservation efforts," he told reporters.

"It will also help us to protect them from poaching... By knowing exactly where the rhinos usually roam, it's easier for our rangers to provide security for them."

Conservationists celebrated the discovery of the calves but warned that Ujung Kulon's rhino population remained extremely vulnerable.

Threats include poachers, habitat loss due to illegal clearing, disease from livestock that wander into the park from surrounding paddocks, tsunamis triggered by earthquakes and eruptions from the nearby Anak Krakatau volcano.

"We know that Ujung Kulon sits on a hot spot due to the active volcano, Anak Krakatau, and on plates with high seismic activity," WWF's Hariyadi said.

"The risk of extinction due to natural disaster is quite high."

With these threats in mind, officials are preparing to move up to five female and three male to another forest sanctuary on Java.

"We're really careful about executing the project and we're involving many experts," Hariyadi said.

Explore further: Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New footage shows rare rhinos in Indonesia

Mar 05, 2009

New infra-red footage released Thursday captures hitherto unseen images of elusive Javan rhinos, the most endangered mammal in the world with less than 60 individuals believed to remain alive.

Officials scramble to save endangered Javan rhinos

Jun 21, 2010

(AP) -- The discovery of three dead Javan rhinos has intensified efforts to save one of the world's most endangered mammals from extinction, with an electric fence being built Monday around a new sanctuary ...

Elderly Malaysian rhino enlisted in breeding attempt

Sep 23, 2010

Malaysian wildlife officials on Borneo island said Thursday they will try to artificially inseminate an elderly female rhinoceros in a bid to revive one of the world's most endangered species.

Rare Borneo rhino caught on camera in Malaysia

Apr 21, 2010

A rare Borneo rhino, thought to be pregnant, has been caught on camera in Malaysia, and wildlife experts said Wednesday a new calf would be a lifeline for the near-extinct species.

First picture of wild Borneo rhino taken

Jun 15, 2006

The World Wildlife Fund says the first-ever picture of a rhino in the wild on the island of Borneo has been taken using a motion-triggered camera trap.

Recommended for you

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

5 minutes ago

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

India's ancient mammals survived multiple pressures

19 hours ago

Most of the mammals that lived in India 200,000 years ago still roam the subcontinent today, in spite of two ice ages, a volcanic super-eruption and the arrival of people, a study reveals.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

Venture investments jump to $9.5B in 1Q

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into an increasing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.