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SOS Rhino : In the News : Indonesia finds signs of rare Javan rhino breeding

Indonesia finds signs of rare Javan rhino breeding

September 01, 2006
Scientific American

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Experts in Indonesia say they have found evidence suggesting that four Javan rhino calves have been born in recent weeks, raising hopes over the prospects for a species on the brink of extinction.

There are estimated to be fewer than 60 Javan rhinos worldwide, with between 26 to 58 believed to be living in Indonesia's Ujung Kulon National Park on the far west of Java island.

Signs of baby rhinos were discovered by a team of biologists and wardens in the park, including small footprints next to larger footprints belonging to the mother in a number of locations, members of the team told a news conference on Friday.

The team then came face-to-face with a calf, identified as a female, and her mother.

"To discover that this population is breeding - and even slowly growing -- gives us hope for the species' future," Arman Malolongan, director general of forest protection and nature conservation at Indonesia's forestry ministry said in a statement.

The distance between the four areas where footprints were found and the sighting indicated four newborn rhinos, the team said.

WWF Indonesia, a conservation group also involved in trying to protect the rhino, urged Indonesian park authorities take steps to prevent destruction habitat from cattle or invasive vegetation.

Indonesia's rich and varied natural environment faces intense pressure from human encroachment.

The only other known population of the Javan rhino, the rarest of the world's five rhino species, is in Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam.

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