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Extinct Sumatran Rhino Tracks Discovered

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Mar 28, 2013 08:22 AM EDT
Rhino marks
Rhino horn scratch marks on tree trunks. (Photo : © WWF-Indonesia)

A conservation group recently found tracks of a species of rhino - Sumatran rhino - that was thought to be extinct.

The tracks were discovered in February when the WWF team was monitoring orangutans in Kutai Barat (Kubar), East Kalimantan, which is in the heart of Borneo.

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A follow-up survey conducted in the region found bite marks on the plants as well as scratches near the puddles that add to the evidence that the rhino may not be extinct. Researchers have said that the tracks are most likely of the Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis). These rhinos are believed to be extinct since the 1990s.

"This discovery is very important for the world, especially for the conservation of Indonesia, because it is a new record ( new record ) Sumatran rhino presence in East Kalimantan, especially in the area Kubar," said Bambang Novianto, Conservation Director of Biodiversity (CBD), the Ministry of Forestry, in a statement released by WWF.

The Sumatran rhinos are the smallest of the rhinos found in Asia and the only ones to have two horns. They are more closely related to the woolly mammoth than the other rhino species. Poaching and human intervention has resulted in these rhinos becoming critically endangered, according to WWF.

Conservation of the Sumatran rhino would require the participation of local communities, corporations and others, added Novianto.

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