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Good News! Sumatran Rhino Sighting Brings Hope to Rhino Conservation

Mar 23, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
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For the first time in four decades, a Sumatran rhino was spotted in Kalimantan, in Indonesian Borneo, sparking hope for rhino conservation efforts in Indonesia and in the world.

World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) researchers safely captured the female rhino, thought to be between 4 to 5 years old, in a wooden pit trap in Kutai Barat on March 12, as per the organization's recent press release.

It was the first live sighting of the rhino for over forty years, after a WWF team identified its footprints and saw its images through a camera trap in 2013.

The Sumatran rhino is the smallest of the three Asian rhino species, the other two being the greater one-horned rhino and the Javan rhino.

In Indonesia, only the Sumatran rhino and the Javan rhino are found in the archipelago. Both are considered to be critically endangered.

Over the years, the number of Sumatran rhino has plummeted down to 100, due to habitat loss caused by mining, logging and plantations. Poaching also resulted to their slow extinction.

In the Malaysian part of Borneo, wild Sumatran rhinos were declared extinct last year.

It has been thought that the Sumatran rhino was also already extinct in Kalimantan, so the capture of the female rhino is definitely a milestone. Glyn Davies, WWF-UK conservation director, said in The Guardian report that the hairy rhinos were difficult to find because they are "very, very secretive."

In a press release, WWF-Indonesia CEO Dr Efransjah said that they will "strengthen their efforts to protect this extraordinary species."

Right now, the female rhino is kept in a temporary closure until her transfer to a new home, a protected forest about 150 kilometers away from her capture site. Her new location would be kept vague to stop poachers from coming after her, said Simon Stuart of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

In addition, Indonesia also announced a population increase of the Javan rhino, a critically endangered species, bringing their numbers up to 63.

(Video below is from National Geographic Indonesia.)

Badak Sumatera Berhasil Ditemukan di Kutai Barat Untuk Upaya P...Badak Sumatera Berhasil Ditemukan di Kutai Barat Untuk Upaya Penyelamatan

Dalam kurun waktu lima dekade terakhir, ini adalah kali pertama Badak Sumatera dapat diamati secara langsung di habitatnya.
Video : WWF

Posted by National Geographic Indonesia on Monday, March 21, 2016

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