Javan rhinos are found in only one protected area in the world and are the most threatened of the five rhino species, with as few as 35 individuals surviving in Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia. The population in Ujung Kulon National Park represents the only hope for the survival of a species that is on the brink of extinction. Until the late 19th century and early 20th century, Javan rhinos existed from northeast India and the Sunderbans, throughout mainland Southeast Asia, and on the island of Sumatra. Vietnam’s last Javan rhino was poached in 2010. If we lose the population in Java, the entire species will disappear.
The Javan rhino is a dusky grey color and has a single horn of up to about 10 inches. Their skin has a number of loose folds giving the appearance of armor plating. This species is very similar in appearance to the closely-related greater-one rhinoceros, but has a much smaller head and less apparent skin folds. The biology of the species is poorly understood because techniques for accurately estimating their numbers are not fully developed. They are extremely vulnerable to extinction due to natural catastrophes, diseases, poaching, and potential inbreeding. Rhino horns can fetch up to $30,000 on the black market.
The World Wildlife Federation conducts ongoing research on the Javan rhino, which continues to reveal critical information about behavioral patterns, distribution, movement, population size, sex ratio and genetic diversity. They also work closely with the Ujung Kulon National Park Authority to keep track of rhino populations. In 2010, they received camera trap footage of two Javan rhinos and two of their calves in the dense tropical rainforests of the protected area. The videos prove that one of the world’s rarest mammals are breeding. Before these camera trap images surfaced, only twelve other Javan rhino births were recorded in the past decade. WWF and its partners are working on the development of a program to translocate rhinos from Ujung Kulon National Park to establish a new population in other suitable habitat in Indonesia. This new habitat would eliminate the threat of natural disasters and create two populations.
What can you do to help? Click the link below to join the WWF’s campaign to help stop wildlife violence. http://worldwildlife.org/pages/stop-wildlife-crime
“In 50 years of conservation, we have never seen wildlife crime on such a scale. Wildlife crime is now the most urgent threat to three of the world’s best-loved species—elephants, rhinos and tigers.”