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SOS Rhino : In the News : Sumatran rhino population reduced by 50% in last 10 years

Sumatran rhino population reduced by 50% in last 10 years

  Antara News
 Mar 01 17:16

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The population of the Sumatran Rhinoceros dropped by around 50 percent over the last 10 years due poaching and deforestation which destroyed the animals habitat, a Forestry Ministry official said.

The population of the Sumatran Rhinos in 1993 was around 215 to 319, while previously the number was estimated at between 420 and 875, Adi Sumianto, director of the ministry_s biodiversity conservation affairs, said on Wednesday.

"Sumatran Rhinos are to be found in four locations in Sumatra Island s national parks, and maybe in other areas also," Adi said.

The habitats of the Sumatran Rhino, the only two-horned rhino in the Asian region, were the Leuser, Kerinci Seblat, South Bukit Barisan and Way Kambas national parks.

The endangered animal was now on the brink of extinction due to modern as well as traditional poaching activities, deforestation and the fragmentation of their habitats, he said.

"In the past, their habitats were connected to each other. But now, they are totally fragmented due to the opening of forest areas for farming, plantations and human settlements, he said.

The forestry ministry planned to restore the endangered animal s habitats in an effort to boost their reproduction and population.

The ministry will conduct scientific study, which will include genetic analysis (DNA) and distribution monitoring especially among female and offspring in order to find out about their reproduction cycle.

"The priority might be to increase population of Sumatra Rhino in Way Kambas National Park, he said.

The Way Kambas National Park, which is located in Lampung Province, southeast coast of Sumatra Island, is believed to have four two-horned Rhinos consisting of one male and three females.

The Sumatran hairy rhino, Dicerorhinus sumatrensis, is probably the most endangered of all rhinoceros species in the world, which include Javan Rhinos, Indian Rhinos and African Rhinos. There is no indication that the situation is showing any signs of stabilizing.  

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