JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) – Four of the world’s most rare rhinoceroses were captured by camera traps installed in an Indonesian national park, an environmental group said Monday.
The footage from movement-triggered hidden cameras in Indonesia’s Ujung Kulon National Park have photographed images of two Javan rhino calves, bringing new hope for a species. Javan rhinoceroses are one of the world’s most endangered species with an estimated population of no more than 50 in Ujung Kulon. A few others live in Vietnam’s Cat Tien National Park.
“This is good news to ensure that the population is viable,” said Adhi Hariyadi, WWF project leader in the park. The national park’s chief, Agus Priambudi, said the footage provided substantial information about population dynamics of Javan rhinos as well as feedback about survey and monitoring system of the survival of endangered species.
After identifying 14 rhino births within the last 10 years using camera and video traps, the Javan rhino study will now focus on the animal’s habits, distribution, genetic diversity, diet and nutrition, as well as pathology and cause of stress, WWF-Indonesia said.
“This female calf documentation is a breath of fresh air for us – and Javan rhino conservation in general – since majority of calves we identified previously was male,” said Hariyadi.
The Javan rhino is believed to survive in the wild only in Ujung Kulon and in much smaller numbers in Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The rhinos’ numbers were slashed by poaching, but the organization said there have been no recorded poaching deaths of the Javan rhino in Ujung Kulon in more than 20 years..