A rare endangered Rhino scientists believed to be extinct for 40 years has tragically died just weeks after it was rediscovered. The discovery of the Sumatran Rhino on the Indonesian part of Borneo Island was hailed as a “landmark conservation success” before its death on Tuesday. It was thought to be fighting for its life when a Sumatran Rhino Conservation Team snared it in a pit trap close to mining operations last month in East Kalimantan province. However the female Rhino, known as Najaq, succumbed to a leg infection after her health deteriorated in recent days, officials confirmed.
A post-mortem examination is being carried out to determine the official cause of death, he added. Environmentalists discovered in 2013 that the Sumatran Rhino was not extinct on Indonesian Borneo, as had long been thought, when hidden cameras captured images of the animals. Conservationists had heralded the capture of the Rhino in March as an exciting discovery, and expressed disappointment at the tragic turn of events.
In response to the sad news, International Rhino Foundation said: “Our hearts are saddened by this devastating news from Kalimantan. “There are many lessons to be learned from this event. It is our hope that the next Rhino captured in Kalimantan will be sent to the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary where it can be cared for in a permanent facility by experienced veterinarians and keepers.”
There were once Sumatran Rhinos all over Borneo but their numbers have dwindled dramatically, with poaching and the expansion of mining and plantation operations considered the main reasons for the decline. The Sumatran Rhino is the only Asian Rhino with two horns, and are covered with long hair. It’s estimated there are less than 100 left in the wild.
“The death of this Sumatran Rhino proves they exist on Borneo, so we will continue protecting them,” Tachrir Fathoni, a senior official at the environment ministry, told AFP.
“This is a very valuable lesson that shows saving a Rhino can be very difficult, and needs the support of experts,” said WWF Indonesia head Efransjah, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
International Rhino Foundation: http://Rhinos.org/
WWF Indonesia: http://www.wwf.or.id/en/
Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary: https://www.savetheRhino.org/asia_programmes/sumatran_Rhino_sanctuary_indonesia