As bad news about the poaching of the African rhino continues to come in, we (and our friends over at World Wildlife Fund) turn our attention to Indonesia, where amazing photos recently surfaced of the critically endangered Javan rhino. Similar to the slightly larger Indian rhinoceros, Javan rhinos have a pointed upper lip used for grabbing food, a small or even nonexistent horn on females, with massive skin folds that give it a pronounced armored appearance.
The Javan rhino is one of the most threatened of WWF‘s flagship species, with an estimated population of 40-60 left in Ujung Kulon National Park in Java (less than a dozen of a Vietnamese sub-species are believed to remain in existence). The species faces increasing pressures from growing human population, poaching and disease, not to mention the threat of being wiped out completely by an eruption of the nearby Anak Krakatau volcano. All of which makes the new photographs and video captured when four Javan rhinos triggered a motion-activated camera trap all the more dramatic and timely.
WWF is currently working with the Indonesian government, the International Rhino Foundation, the Indonesian Rhino Foundation, the Asian Rhino Project, the IUCN/SSC Rhino Specialist Group and local communities to protect Javan rhinos from poaching, to monitor the population and, perhaps most importantly, to establish a second population through translocation. –Bret Love
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