LESS THAN 300 SUMATRAN RHINOS… IN WILD

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LESS THAN 300 SUMATRAN RHINOS… IN WILD

 user 2006-03-20 at 10:52:00 am Views: 64
  • #14948

    Sumatran rhino tracks spark hopes
    Sumatran rhino
    A wildlife expedition in Malaysia has found evidence that there may be hope for the endangered Sumatran rhino.
    A
    search of an area known as the Heart of Borneo last May found the
    tracks of at least 13 animals in a confined area – though no rhino was
    actually seen.
    Environmentalists say the area may be home to a viable breeding population.
    The
    Sumatran rhino, the smallest of the world’s rhino species, is
    threatened by extinction. Only 300 of the animals are thought to remain.
    On
    the Malay peninsula, only a handful survive, as many have fallen prey
    to poachers or have died in poorly maintained captive breeding centres.
    They are also thought to be extinct across most of Borneo island.
    However, this latest survey offers a glimmer of hope.
    Scattered population
    Malaysian
    scientists based in Sabah state on Borneo believe they have found a
    substantial group in a small area untouched by poachers.
    “Poaching
    has decimated Borneo’s once-healthy rhino population, but we were
    heartened to find that a few individuals have managed to cling to
    survival,” said Raymond Alfred, of the Malaysian branch of the
    conservation group WWF.
    Previous estimates had put the total number of Sumatran rhinos in Sabah at between 30 and 70.
    However, many are thought to be scattered over wide distances.
    DICERORHINUS SUMATRENSIS
    In 2001, there were about 300 Sumatran rhinos
    They live in dense tropical forest, mainly in the Malay Peninsula and Borneo|
    They weigh 600-950kg (1,300-2,000 lbs)
    They stand at 1-1.5 metres (3-5 ft)
    Source: International Rhino Foundation
    This
    latest discovery has excited scientists because there are so many
    animals in one small area, meaning they stand a better chance of
    breeding.
    “We believe this population may be viable and could
    recover if their habitat is protected and the threat of poaching is
    eliminated,” said Dr Christy Williams, head of the WWF’s Asian rhino
    programme.
    The WWF and the state authorities have now launched rhino protection patrols in the area where the creatures were found.
    Their
    horns are said to be worth kilogram for kilogram almost as much as
    gold, and are prized for their use in traditional Asian medicine