Sumatran rhino footprints believed found on Borneo

March 28, 2013
In this undated photo released by the WWF-Indonesia, a scientist measures a footprint which is believed to be of a Sumatran rhino in a forest in Kutai Barat, East Kalimantan province, Indonesia. The WWF-Indonesia said that they have discovered several footprints believed to be from the critically endangered species on Indonesia's Borneo island. (AP Photo/WWF-Indonesia)

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, a conservation group said Thursday.

The fresh tracks were discovered in February while a WWF team was monitoring in West Kutai forested district of East Kalimantan province, according to a statement.

A photo taken in 2006 and released by The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on March 28, 2013 shows the critically endangered Sumatran rhino in Sabah, Malaysia. Footprints thought to be from the Sumatran rhino have been found on Borneo island, where the species was believed to have been extinct for 20 years, environmental group WWF said Thursday.

A follow-up survey carried out by the team, along with government forestry officials and scientists from Mulawarman University, discovered more footprints, horn scratches at mud holes, trees used as rubbing posts and bite marks on plants. But the number of potential animals remains unclear.

The rhino has been thought to be extinct on Indonesia's part of Borneo since the 1990s. Fewer than 200 animals still live in the wild in Indonesia and Malaysia, threatened by loss of habitat and poaching.

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