Indonesia: Only four female Javan rhinos left in the wild

The Jakarta Post 28 Oct 11;

JAKARTA: Among the approximately 40 Javanese rhinoceroses in Ujung Kulon, West Java, only four are female, prompting more headaches for the government and conservationists in their decades-long work to save the animal.

Yopie Hidayat, the spokesman for Vice President Boediono, revealed the daunting information after Boediono held a meeting with the secretary general of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Wednesday.

“The Vice President met with the IUCN secretary general, and they discussed their plan to help preserve the Javanese rhinoceros, whose population was only 35 to 45,” Yopie said as quoted by Antara news agency.

“The problem is that only around four or five [of the Javanese rhinos] are female,” he added.

According to Yopie, the threat of extinction for the single-horned rhino became more serious than ever with the gender imbalance. Moreover, the female rhinos experience a 16-month gestation period, Yopie said.

Javanese rhinos are typically poached for their horns, which are extremely valuable on the black market. Last week, conservation group the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) said that Vietnam lost its battle to save the rare Javan rhino, after the country’s last animal was reportedly shot and killed for its horn.

There are no Javanese rhinos in captivity, and the 40 wild rhinos at Ujung Kulon are the only left on the planet.

Survey of Rare Javan Rhinos Finds Few Females
Jakarta Globe 28 Oct 11;

A survey of endangered Javan rhinos in an Indonesian park has found far fewer females than males, a potential setback in efforts to save the species.

Video cameras set up in the eastern half of Ujung Kulon National Park recorded 17 rhinos this year. Just four were female.

Park official Arif Junaedi said on Friday that the cameras have now been moved to the more remote western half of the park, and that “hopefully many more females remain” there. The results should be known in November.

Only 40 to 60 Javan rhinos remain in the park, which is the animal’s original habitat. They are the last known living members of the species, with none in captivity.

The last known Javan rhino in Vietnam was found dead in April, apparently after poachers killed it for its horn.

Associated Press