Quantcast

See Stunning Footage of World's Most Threatened Rhino

Animals
A critically endangered Javan rhino in Indonesia's Ujung Kulon National Park. Robin Moore / Global Wildlife Conservation

With only 68 individuals left on the planet, the Javan rhino is the world's most threatened rhino species.

So you can image the surprise when a team from Global Wildlife Conservation and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) saw one of these incredible creatures wallowing in the mud in Indonesia's Ujung Kulon National Park, the only place on Earth where these critically endangered species are found.


"We heard a crashing sound, and suddenly this rhino just appeared to the right of us," said Robin Moore, the team member from Global Wildlife Conservation who took the photos, in a press release emailed to EcoWatch. "It was a surreal, once-in-a-lifetime moment, like time had stopped, and it was all we could do not to scare the animal away in our excitement."

The rhino is known for its dusky grey color and a single horn that can be as long as 10 inches, according to WWF. Its skin has loose folds, making it look like armored plating.

"By sharing these photos, we hope to give people an emotional connection to this rare species—an animal that even rhino biologists only dream of getting a glimpse of in the wild," said photographer Robin Moore. Robin Moore/Global Wildlife Conservation

Unlike white and black rhinos that live in Africa's open grasslands and savannas, Javan rhinos live in thick forests, making them difficult to find and study—much less capture on camera.

These rhinos once roamed parts of India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Southern China. But the species has been hunted to near extinction for its horn that's used in traditional medicine. Loss of its lowland habitat has also endangered the animals.

Due to poaching and habitat loss, only 20 of the animals were left in Ujung Kulon in the 1960s. Robin Moore/Global Wildlife Conservation

"This amazing footage of one of the world's rarest animals is a reminder of how hard we must work to bend the curve on the decline of rare and iconic species like the Javan rhino," Margaret Kinnaird, leader of WWF's Wildlife Practice, said in the press release. "Last month, we released the Living Planet report showing a 60 percent decline in wildlife populations over the last generation, with poaching and habitat destruction among the greatest threats."

Although the number 68 sounds small, it's actually a considerable jump from the 1960s, when there were only 20 Javan rhinos left.

Still, since the remaining population has such a limited range, the Javan rhino is vulnerable to disease outbreak or natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.

"Collaborative conservation efforts have resulted in rising Javan rhino numbers, underscoring the need to work together for common conservation goals. Javan rhinos are still far from secure and require continued efforts by the Indonesian government and its partners," Kinnaird continued.

A Javan rhino in Indonesia's Ujung Kulon National Park. Video by David Hermanjaya/WWF-Indonesia. www.youtube.com

The Indonesian government works in partnership with WWF, Global Wildlife Conservation, the International Rhino Foundation and the Indonesian Rhino Foundation (YABI) to protect the animals.

Current conservation efforts include the establishment of Rhino Protection Units to prevent poaching and intensive population monitoring. In the future, conservationists hope to translocate individual rhinos to a new location to establish a second population elsewhere in Indonesia. They also intend to control the invasive Arenga palm, which shades out the forest floor and inhibits the growth of plants that the rhinos eat.

"We give thanks to the community surrounding the park in helping us to protect Javan Rhino," Rahmat U Mamat, head of Ujung Kulon National Park, said in the press release. "The Javan rhino is a pride of Indonesia, so we should protect it from extinction."

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

jenifoto / iStock / Getty Images

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Many people consider granola bars a convenient and healthy snack and enjoy their flavor and versatility.

Read More Show Less
A common green darners (Anax junius). Judy Gallagher / Flickr

By Jason Bittel

It's that time of year again: Right now, monarch butterflies are taking wing in the mountains of northwestern Mexico and starting to flap their way across the United States.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
fstop123 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

At EcoWatch, our team knows that changing personal habits and taking actions that contribute to a better planet is an ongoing journey. Earth Day, happening on April 22, is a great reminder for all of us to learn more about the environmental costs of our behaviors like food waste or fast fashion.

To offer readers some inspiration this Earth Day, our team rounded up their top picks for films to watch. So, sit back and take in one of these documentary films this Earth Day. Maybe it will spark a small change you can make in your own life.

Read More Show Less
JPM / Getty Images

Gluten is the collective name for a group of proteins found in grains like wheat, barley and rye.

Read More Show Less
Denali national park. Domen Jakus / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Stephanie Gagnon

Happy National Parks Week! This year, between April 20 and 28, escape to the beautiful national parks — either in person or in your imagination — and celebrate the amazing wildlife that calls these spaces home.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Sesame, three months old, at Seal Rescue Irleand. Screenshot / Seal Rescue Ireland Instagram

On Friday, Seal Rescue Ireland released Sesame the seal into the ocean after five months of rehabilitation at the Seal Rescue Ireland facility. Watch the release on EcoWatch's Facebook.

Read More Show Less
Beer packs of Guinness will now come in a cardboard box. Diageo

By Jordan Davidson

Guinness is joining the fight against single use plastic. The brewer has seen enough hapless turtles and marine life suffering from the scourge of plastic.

Read More Show Less
Maskot / Getty Images

People of all ages are spending more of their day looking at their phones, computers and television screens, but parents now have another reason for limiting how much screen time their children get — it could lead to behavioral problems.

Read More Show Less