Thursday, January 10, 2013

Better news about rhinos – I hope.

-->Folks maybe fed up with a series of gloom and doom stories about rhinos and the devastation that human greed is creating among them.  I have come across recent posts that shed a much more positive perspective, but sadly not about African rhinos. In December an online magazine called Global Animal carried a story about rhino in Indonesia.

We know that in 2012 the Javan (or Sunda) rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus) in Vietnam was declared extinct, but according to Lauren Mellela of Global Animal the situation in Indonesia has happier components. The article has an embedded video showing several cow-calf pairs of this species caught on remote sensor cameras in Ujung Kulon National Park. Apparently some 35 different individuals have been filmed or identified. The video is just under 3 minutes in length and is worth a look-see, especially if you have never seen this species. There are few, if any in zoos, anywhere. They bear some resemblance to the Indian one-horned species.

Sumatran rhino at the Molucca zoo. (Note the site of the sawn-off horns)
The Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is the only Asian one with two horns. It is also the smallest and the hairiest one of all five remaining species. I saw what was probably the first one captured in modern times in the Molucca Zoo in Malaysia in 1985 and was even able to give some medical advice and arrange for some much-needed antibiotics to be delivered to the zoo vet.

Since then a few more have been captured and some success with captive breeding has occurred. In this video a male calf is shown being born in a conservation centre in Indonesia. It is reported to be only the fourth time that such a captive birth has occurred.

As reported in this National Geographic article there are thought to be fewer than 400 members of this species left, so any breeding successes are a positive sign,



Elliott Garber said...

Thanks for this encouraging news, Jerry. It's easy to forget that these little jungle rhinos even exist with all the (justifiable) media coverage of their larger savannah-grazing cousins. I've been enjoying the stories on your blog!

Elliott Garber said...

Thanks for sharing this encouraging news! It's easy to forget that these little jungle rhinos even exist sometimes, with all the media coverage of their savannah-grazing cousins. I've been enjoying the stories on your blog!

Diane said...

Interesting, I did not even know there was a Sumatran rhinoceros! Diane

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Endangered species: Rhino: If they're gone, they're gone forever

South Africa News Online said...

It is really very sad and based on human greed to cut the horns of the rhinos or kill them for the parts of their bodies. It is really a crime and the people found involved in that must be punished by law.