Javan rhinos: is the Indonesian government lying? misleading? or being straight with the world.

It appears that the counters of the Javan rhino, have continued to count animals which have not been seen for years. Given how much poaching has been going on, this seems much more than simply misleading.

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 Unfortunately, this counting issue, takes the Javan rhino from a species which is recovering at an impressive rate, to a species which might disappear within a decade. In the latest count 3 rhino were included, which are known to have died back in 2019.

According to the official numbers, in 2011, when the cameras were installed there were 35 rhino, and that number has climbed steadily to a current number of roughly 72.


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Can simple changes help the Javan rhino recover?

Above is a fascinating video about a photographers journey to try to see this rhinos in the wild (spoiler alert, it was a success, as you can see from the thumbnail). The problem is that despite this video being from 8 years ago, the Javan rhino has not recovered a great deal in the intervening years.

So, when I say it has not recovered much in those years, what do I mean? Well in 2015 the Javan rhino population was estimated at 72, it is now thought to number 76.

A new study has suggested a number of idaes that might accelerate the recovery of this rhino.

These are captive breeding, and forest clearance to give more areas for the rhino to feed.

While the latter may well have some merit, the former may not. It should also be noted that currently 13 of the rhino show signs of inbreeding. So why not bring some of the remaining rhino into captivity, in order to breed? This has not proved highly successful in the past, and indeed often a number of individuals die in the early stages. With a population of just 76 individuals, we do not have spare rhino to gamble with.

Like the Sumatran rhino, the small population left in Java is a relict of a species which roamed a great area of Asia, until not that long ago. If we can save this Javan population there is a potential in the future to reintroduce them to a wide variety of countries in this part of Asia, both mainland and islands.

Will this happen? who knows

Javan Rhino

Javan Rhinoceros

Javan rhino are on the verge of extinction. They are currently restricted to the island of Java in Indonesia. Unfortunately, this is a bigger issue than a rare species that is likely to vanish from Java in the near future.

Up until the middle of the 1800, this rhinoceros species was found Java and Sumatra and onto the mainland of Southeast Asia and Indochina, northwest into East India, Bhutan, and the south of China.

Now, one might argue that many species had wider ranges 150 years ago, but the Javan rhino only declared extinct in Vietnam, back in 2010. In other words, just 13 years ago this species lost its last hold on the Asian mainland. Their closest relative is the Indian greater one-horned rhino (though this is not a recent split, they are separate species).

Now they are restricted to one national park in Java which sits on the far western tip. Here, lies the Ujung Kulon national park, a wilderness covering 1206km2 (466miles2) though 443km2 (171miles2) of that is marine. In this wilderness, roams the last Javan rhinos on the planet. It is currently thought that there are 74 of them in this area. It should be noted that the population has grown since the below video was made – mentions the population as 73.

Furthermore, the Javan and Sumatran Rhino species are not closely related, indeed with the Sumatran Rhino, it is thought to be more closely related to the African rhino, rather than the Asian Rhino species.

Below is an incredibly rare bit of footage of Javan rhino in their small patch of remaining wilderness, from a charity called SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction).

Other animals found here include 35 endemic mammal species can be found in the park, including the banteng, silvery gibbon, Javan lutung, Crab-eating macaque, Javan leopard, Sumatran dhole, Java mouse-deer, Javan rusa, fishing can and smoothcoated otter. There are also 72 species of reptiles and amphibians and 240 species of birds

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