05 January 2009

Little Rhinos Offer a Little Hope

Javan Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus), Critically Endangered

The Javan Rhinoceros is believed to be the rarest large mammal in the world. With only 40-60 individuals still alive, scientists worry whether the population was large enough to recover. It once lived in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR. Today, it survives in two tiny isolated parks in Viet Nam and Indonesia. To really get an idea of its current and historic range, check out this excellent map from Wikipedia. Ujung Kulon National Park, on the western tip of Java has an estimated 50 individuals. Cat Tien National Park in Viet Nam has a mere 6 to 8, which may no longer be a viable population.

Some good news for these giants--scientists recently observed four young rhino calves and their parents in Ujung Kulon. According to the head of the park, the young rhinos were between 6 and 7 months and were in the company of their parents. This is a ray of light for the declining species and offers hope that they may be able to breed quickly enough to recover. Still they face difficult times, with the largest threat coming from poaching for traditional Chinese medicine. There are no Javan Rhinos in captivity to provide captive breeding or insurance populations.

How you can help:

Shop for rhino related products (t-shirts and such, not horns).

Join Crash! the Social Network for People who love Rhinos.

Donate to one of these Rhino Conservation organizations:

International Rhino Foundation, Save the Rhino

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