Sumatran Rhino Seen in Borneo Jungles

Sep 09, 2006

(AP) -- Wildlife rangers have made the first-ever sighting of a Sumatran rhino deep in the jungles of Borneo, taking video and photos of a single male after a decade-long search, conservationists said Friday.

SOS Rhino, a Chicago-based wildlife foundation, hailed the recent sighting in Malaysia's Sabah state as a "major discovery" that suggested a growing population of the Sumatran rhino was present in the wild.

The foundation said rangers from its expedition followed tracks that led them to the male rhino, but didn't say exactly when it took place.

"We have been tracking these animals here in Sabah for almost 10 years now and although we have seen tracks and signs of the rhino, this is the actual first sighting of a rhino in the wild," it said in a statement.

"We are excited about the photos and video clip as it also helps us determine the sex of the animal and its health condition in its natural habitat, something that was dependent on guess work before."

The Sumatran rhino is the smallest and most endangered among five species of rhinos left in the world, and the only rhino species found in Malaysia.

They have rapidly vanished in recent decades as their rain forest habitat has been lost to logging, plantations and other development and poachers hunted them for horns used in aphrodisiacs and traditional medicines.

Sabah is the last preserve of the Borneo Sumatran rhino, a subspecies of the Sumatran rhino, a bristly, snub-nosed, smaller version of the African variety.

The subspecies has already become extinct in other parts of Borneo because of poaching. Borneo island is divided between Malaysia's Sabah and Sarawak states, Indonesia's Kalimantan province and the oil-rich sultanate of Borneo.

Fewer than 300 rhinos of the second subspecies, the western Sumatran rhino, are believed to be living on Indonesia's Sumatra island and mainland Malaysia.

Hopes for the Borneo subspecies were boosted after Malaysian government wildlife officials and World Wildlife Fund experts found evidence of at least 13 of them in May last year. Rhino protection units have since launched patrols to deter poaching.

---

On the Net:

SOS Rhino: www.sosrhino.org

© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Battling superbugs with gene-editing system

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cameras capture Sumatran rhino in Indonesian Borneo

Oct 02, 2013

Hidden cameras have captured images of the critically endangered Sumatran rhino on the Indonesian part of Borneo island, where it was thought to have long ago died out, the WWF said Wednesday.

Sumatran rhino footprints believed found on Borneo

Mar 28, 2013

Several footprints believed to be from critically endangered Sumatran rhino have been found on Indonesia's Borneo island, raising hopes for the existence of an animal long thought to be extinct in that area, ...

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.

Death, tumors harm efforts to save rare rhinos

Apr 04, 2014

Efforts to save critically endangered Sumatran rhinoceroses were dealt a double blow this week with the death of one animal in a US zoo and the discovery of reproductive tumors in another.

Fears over Indonesia's thirst for palm oil

Dec 08, 2012

The roar of chainsaws has replaced birdsong, the once-lush, green jungle scorched to a barren grey. The equivalent of six football pitches of forest is lost every minute in Indonesia.

Recommended for you

Battling superbugs with gene-editing system

13 hours ago

In recent years, new strains of bacteria have emerged that resist even the most powerful antibiotics. Each year, these superbugs, including drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis and staphylococcus, infect ...

Dwindling wind may tip predator-prey balance

Sep 19, 2014

Bent and tossed by the wind, a field of soybean plants presents a challenge for an Asian lady beetle on the hunt for aphids. But what if the air—and the soybeans—were still?

Environmental pollutants make worms susceptible to cold

Sep 19, 2014

Some pollutants are more harmful in a cold climate than in a hot, because they affect the temperature sensitivity of certain organisms. Now researchers from Danish universities have demonstrated how this ...

Research helps steer mites from bees

Sep 19, 2014

A Simon Fraser University chemistry professor has found a way to sway mites from their damaging effects on bees that care and feed the all-important queen bee.

User comments : 0