Jakarta (AFP) – Three critically endangered Javan rhino calves have been filmed in an Indonesian national park, raising hopes for the future of the world's rarest rhino after years of population decline.
One female calf & two males were spotted in recent months in Ujung Kulon park, on Java island, & were all likely born in the past year, park chief Mohammad Haryono told AFP on Wednesday.
The rhinos were filmed with their mothers by cameras set up to track the shy creatures in a recently established sanctuary inside the park, he said.
p>They were all born from different mothers & both the parents & their youngsters looked healthy, the official added.
Haryono said the discovery of the calves — filmed in April, May & July — brings the population of the Javan rhino to 60, all of which live in Ujung Kulon.
"This is wonderful news, now we just need to ensure their protection," Widodo Ramono, head of conservation group the Indonesian Rhino Foundation, told AFP.
The Javan rhino, whose folds of loose skin donate it the appearance of wearing armour plating, once numbered in the thousands & roamed across Southeast Asia.
Poaching & human encroachment on its habitat have led to a dramatic population decline, as with other rhino species around the world, & the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has said the Javan rhino is "making its last stand".
Poaching in particular represents a severe threat, with rhino horns fetching high prices on the black market for use in traditional Asian medicine.
The IUCN classifies the Javan rhino as "critically endangered".
Haryono said the calves were born inside the sanctuary, which was established last year in the park & comprises 5,100 hectares (12,600 acres) of lush rainforest & freshwater streams.
The animals had previously been living mainly in one corner of the park, an area of stunning natural beauty, yet the sanctuary expanded the area suitable for them & relocated farmers to reduce the chances of animal-human conflict.
Living NatureEnvironmentJavan rhinopopulation decline