September 23, 2021

Rare footage captured of the world’s most endangered rhino

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By: Alicia Graef From Care2

A lucky team of conservationists has shared an encounter of a lifetime after capturing rare images and footage of an elusive, and critically endangered, Javan rhino.

Javan rhinos were once widespread across India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Southern China, but have decimated over the years. According to the Global Wildlife Conservation, the last Javan rhino in Vietnam was found poached in 2010 during a park survey and they were subsequently declared extinct there.

Today, the entire population of Javan rhinos lives entirely in Ujung Kulon National Park in West Java, Indonesia, where they still suffer from the threat of poaching, habitat loss, disease and natural disasters.

Now, conservationists are marveling over a rare sighting of one who was captured on film for the first time taking a little mud bath by a team from Global Wildlife Conservation and World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-Indonesia.

“We heard a crashing sound, and suddenly this rhino just appeared to the right of us,” said Robin Moore, the team member from Global Wildlife Conservation who took the photos. “It was a surreal, once-in-a-lifetime moment, like time had stopped, and it was all we could do not to scare the animal away in our excitement. By sharing these photos, we hope to give people an emotional connection to this rare species, an animal that even rhino biologists only dream of getting a glimpse of in the wild.”

Even though the population is still considered critically endangered with just 68 individuals, it’s increased from about 20 in the 1960s, and efforts are still underway to help the population continue to grow.

The government of Indonesia is currently working with multiple conservation organizations including WWF, Global Wildlife Conservation, the International Rhino Foundation and the Indonesian Rhino Foundation to protect them in the park and hope to increase their population to 80 by 2025, while some hope to move individuals from this population to start a new one elsewhere, which will lessen the potential for them to be hit hard by disease or natural disaster.

Hopefully this sighting will help raise their profile and encourage more people to take an interest in conservation efforts to help Javan rhinos.

“This amazing footage of one of the world’s rarest animals is a reminder of how hard we must work to bend the curve on the decline of rare and iconic species like the Javan rhino. Last month, we released the Living Planet report showing a 60 percent decline in wildlife populations over the last generation, with poaching and habitat destruction among the greatest threats. However, collaborative conservation efforts have resulted in rising Javan rhino numbers, underscoring the need to work together for common conservation goals. Javan rhinos are still far from secure and require continued efforts by the Indonesian government and its partners,” said Margaret Kinnaird, leader of WWF’s Wildlife Practice.

Photo credit: Robin Moore/Global Wildlife Conervation

For more on this story go to: https://www.care2.com/causes/rare-footage-captured-of-the-worlds-most-endangered-rhino.html

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