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Scientists have captured video of a Sumatran rhino, once thought to have been wiped out, in the Kalimantan forest in Indonesia. In footage captured by the WWF, the animal can be seen bathing in a puddle and scurrying among trees. The video proves the charity's efforts to preserve the species have had some impact

Scientists have captured video of a Sumatran rhino, once thought to have been wiped out, in the Kalimantan forest in Indonesia. In footage captured by the WWF, the animal can be seen bathing in a puddle and scurrying among trees. The video proves the charity’s efforts to preserve the species have had some impact

We have been thrilled by the increasing velocity with which camera-trapped images and video of endangered animals get hurled across the wired world. The video above (click to go to the Guardian‘s host site for that half minute of pleasure). Back in March, WWF released this news release and at the time we did not link to it because it seemed premature; now, read it and weep:

Found! Traces of Sumatran Rhinos in Indonesian Part of the Heart of Borneo

Sendawar, East Kalimantan, March 28, 2013. A team from WWF-Indonesia has found fresh footprints resembling those of a rhino in the Heart of Borneo (HoB) area of East Kalimantan, Indonesia.

To confirm the presence of Sumatran rhino, another team comprised of members from WWF-Indonesia, the West Kutai Forestry Agency, Mulawarman University, and local observers, launched a follow-up survey that found evidence of rhino footprints, active mud wallows, marks on tree trunks, and signs that the rare animals had been feeding in the area.
The recent findings were first coupled with known historical records of rhinos in East Kalimantan, and then scientifically confirmed by rhino experts from WWF-Indonesia and the Mulawarman University’s School of Forestry as belonging to Sumatran Rhinos (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis).
The survey team also identified more than 20 plant species rhinos feed on in abundance, including Dillenia supruticosa, Glochidion glomemerulatum and Nblia Japanica. The abundant meals and the natural condition further support the finding, indicating for the first time in over two decades the presence of rhino in the Indonesian part of the Heart of Borneo.
Experts taking part in the survey stated that a visual sighting has yet to be made. It is also not possible to confirm at this whether the signs were made by a group of rhinos or just one remaining individual.
Sumatran rhinos in Kalimantan were presumed extinct since the early 1990s. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the rare animal as Critically Endangered, with a population under 275 individuals now living in the wild. .
“This is a very important finding to the world, and especially to Indonesia’s conservation work, as this serves as a new record on the presence of Sumatran rhinos in East Kalimantan and especially in West Kutai,” said Bambang Noviyanto, the director for biodiversity conservation at the Forestry Ministry.
“Information surrounding the presence becomes important to draft strategies to protect the population, if it is found to be viable and breeding, and to educate [people living around] the habitat where [traces] of rhinos have been found,” continued Bambang.
Commenting on the findings, WWF-Indonesia conservation director Nazir Foead said, “WWF-Indonesia together with all stakeholders will conduct a follow-up and more comprehensive survey to map rhinos’ habitat preference and their population in West Kutai.”
“Based on the result of this survey, joint strategies and comprehensive and holistic action plans need to be immediately formulated.”
Nazir further stated that the conservation plan and efforts for Sumatran Rhinos needed to be long-term, and therefore sustainable funding was needed, partly to ensure that the work also benefit people living around the rhinos’ habitat. He added the finding was especially important after President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono declared 2012 the International Year of the Rhino.
The head of the West Kutai district, Ismael Thomas SH. M.Si, said, “Rhinos, dolphins, clouded leopards and local buffalo are among God’s creations that are getting rare, but apparently they’re still alive in West Kutai”. Ismael added, “We must protect them, and the communities must live in harmony with nature.”
According to Ismael, the West Kutai administration is committed to protecting rhinos, and will immediately issue a by law on Endangered Animal and Plant Protection.
In partnership with WWF-Indonesia, the local government will form a team to study and investigate the presence of the animals, to decide on precise conservation policies and programs, as well as sources of funding to support efforts to protect rhinos.

2 thoughts on “Support WWF Today!

  1. Pingback: Sumatran rhino in Indonesian Borneo, video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Camera Trap Commentary |

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