Animals & Wildlife Magazine

Javan Rhino Extinct in Vietnam

By Frontiergap @FrontierGap

Javan rhino extinct in Vietnam

A subspecies of Javan rhino, Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus, has recently entered into Vietnam’s history books after the last known individual was found dead. Unfortunately, this also happened to be the last remaining species on mainland Asia.
There are two other subspecies of Javan rhino, one of which is already extinct, while the other (R. sondaicus sondaicus) is found in Java and Indonesia. Current population numbers are estimated at being no more than 50 individuals.
This news has fallen painfully on the ears of WWF’s Vietnam director Tran Thi Minh Hien who said that “despite significant investment in Vietnamese rhino conservation, efforts failed to save this unique animal”.
According to a report on the ‘Extinction of the Javan Rhino from Vietnam’, the authors found that genetic analysis of dung samples collected between 2009 – 2010 in the Cat Tien National Park showed that they all belonged to just one individual. It was shortly after these surveys were completed that conservationists discovered that the rhino had in fact been killed. The blame for this was mainly directed towards poachers since it had been shot in the leg and its horn cut off.
On a global scale there has been an increasing number of reports of rhino poaching which led to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) publishing a report highlighting that rhino populations in Africa were facing their worst poaching crisis for decades.
A recent assessment made by Traffic, the global wildlife trade monitoring network, suggested that the illegal trade in rhino horns was being driven by the Asian medicinal markets.
Dr Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, chairman of the IUCN's Asian Rhino Specialist Group mentioned that the “key to the success of the species is appropriate habitat management, as the Javan rhinos are browsers and need secondary growing forests." However habitat within the national park is being degraded by an invasive species of palm, therefore, control of this palm is vital for the future of the Javan rhino.
The rhino protection units and national park authorities in Indonesia have been highly successful in preventing poaching over the past decade. It is important now that this protection is continued in order to safeguard the future of the Javan rhino.
By Anthony Kubale

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