Indonesia: Sumatran rhino in Lampung on brink of extinction

Antara 24 Nov 11;

Bandarlampung (ANTARA News) - The Sumatran rhinoceros in Lampung Province is on the brink of extinction duo to poaching activities and weak law enforcement, an environmentalist said.

"The rhino population in Waykambasis is now about 30, and in Bukit Barisan 80. Their reproduction capability is worrying due to the impact of climate change," chairman of the Indonesian Rhino Foundation, Widodo Ramono, said here on Thursday after attending a coordinating meeting on biological natural resource and ecosystem conservation.

The rhinoceros is an endangered animal and only human beings can help them survive, he said.

Ironically, however, human beings have caused the rhino population to drop by their practice of hunting the animal for its organs that are believed to have medicinal properties, he said.

He said a one-year jail term and a fine of Rp300,000 were too mild punishment for rhino poaching.

"The rhino population can be maintained only if the law on animal protection is revised. And this is what we are currently discussing," he said.

The Sumatran rhino population was now in a better condition than the Javan rhino population.

"Nationally, the rhino population is between 180 and 200 but in Lampung alone they number 120," he said.

The Sumatran Rhinoceros is a herbivorous browser that belongs to the order of the Perissodactyla and is one of the three species of Rhinos native to Asia.

Its habitat is dense tropical rain forest and it is to be found in a part of the world stretching from North-East India through Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and the Indonesian Islands of Borneo and Sumatra - hence its name.

It is the most endangered rhino species as its population has declined more than 50% in the last 15 years. There are currently 275 Sumatran Rhinos left in fragmented populations throughout South East Asia.

The Sumatran rhinoceros is the only Asian rhinoceros with two horns.

Editor: Priyambodo RH

Indonesian government urged to pay serious attention to javan rhino
Antara 24 Nov 11;

Surabaya, E Java (ANTARA News) - The government should pay serious attention to the survival of the Javan Rhinoceros (rhinoceros sondaicus) whose population has not increased over the past few years, an environmentalist said.

"The number of Javan Rhinos in the Ujung Kulon national park was around 20-40 heads in 2010," Singky Soewadji said here recently.

He expressed pessimism that the endangered animal`s population could increase in the coming years.

"This is because the area of forested land in Indonesia has shrunk and is continuing to shrink," he said.

Many habitats of rare animals had been converted into plantation areas, he said, adding that quite often plantation managers ordered the killings of endangered animals living in the forests.

"Such a condition is disadvantageous for Indonesia because many of its rare animals will die," he said.

And for the reproduction of rhinos, the animals need particular habitats to mate.

"Both male and female rhinos need comfortable and peaceful habitats which are free from disturbances by human beings. Unfortunately, they cannot find such a habitat nowadays in this country," he said.

If the government did not pay serious attention to the Javan rhinos, the animal would face the same fate as the now extinct Bali tiger and Java tiger, he said.

The number of Sumatran tigers on Sumatra island is estimated at 400 heads now.

The Javan rhinoceros weighs 1500 - 2000 kg (3200 - 4400 lb) and has a length of 3 - 3.5 m (10 - 11`). It has one horn and prominent folds in the skin, similar to the Indian rhino. The horn grows onto a roughened area of the skull (rather than being "rooted" in the skull). The Javan rhino is hairless except for its ears and tail tip.

Apart from the one-horned Javan rhino, Indonesia has the Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), which is a member of the family Rhinocerotidae and one of five extant rhinoceroses.

It is the smallest rhinoceros, although is still a large mammal, and has two horns. (*)

Editor: Aditia Maruli