For the first time in what is being reported as 40 years by the World Wildlife Fund, a critically-endangered Sumatran Rhino has been found live in the wild in Kalimantan, the Indonesia part of Boreo.
As noted in the WWF’s announcement, the animal was thought to be extinct in the region, so the discovery comes off as quite of a bit of a surprise. Researchers are said to have captured the animal by way of pit trap, and it is unharmed from the incident.
There are believed to be only about 100 Sumatran Rhinos left in the wild today, and researchers have been carefully tracking them by watching out for footprints since they were first spotted in the area in 2013. So far, a total of around 15 Sumatran Rhinos have been identified throughout Indonesia.
“This is an exciting discovery and a major conservation success,” said Dr Efransjah, CEO of WWF-Indonesia. “We now have proof that a species once thought extinct in Kalimantan still roams the forests, and we will now strengthen our efforts to protect this extraordinary species.”
For conversationalists who are concerned about keeping the species alive, this is a big find. The captured Sumatran Rhino, which is a female estimated to be anywhere from 4-5 years old, will be sent to a protected forest that the WWF says is about 150 km away from its capture site. There, it will be safer from poachers and predators that could harm its existence.
The goal is to continue to add more of these Sumatran Rhinos to the protected grounds where they can hopefully establish breeding grounds and multiply. These efforts are to try and increase the numbers of species in the wild and prevent them from dying off.
Getting animals to mate can be difficult because if they don’t have an attraction to one another, they simply won’t hit it off. But Sumatran Rhinos are known to be a little fussier, because the females often suffer from complications that make mating difficult, hence why it has been so difficult to increase their footprint in the wild around the world.
With efforts to move these critically-endangered animals to protected grounds, hopefully mating will be possible and their numbers will find the path to increasing.