October 7, 2013 2:23 pm
Sumatran rhinos—at just 3.3 to 5 feet tall, the smallest species of rhino in the world—once lived throughout Southeast Asia, including as far west as Bhutan and eastern India. But as the region’s forests disappeared, so did the rhino, and today poaching is an equally formidable problem. Only an estimated 220 to 275 of the rhinos still exist, according to the IUCN, and they’d long been thought to have disappeared from the island of Borneo, Indonesia’s West Kutai region. But according to the Jakarta Post, three camera trap videos, taken over a period of three months, provides welcome evidence to the contrary.
Captured on June 23, June 30 and August 3, the footage shows one rhino foraging for food and what appears to be a different rhino doing what rhinos are famous for: splashing in a muddy watering hole to cool down. Further research will be needed to confirm if they are actually two different animals.
Now that word is out that rhinos are still around, conservationists will have to buckle down on anti-poaching protection measures. Rhino horn fetches around $30,000 per kilogram, CBS points out. And unfortunately, there’s not a good way to up the rhino’s numbers besides protecting them. Captive breeding of the species isn’t really an option for saving the species, the World Wildlife Fund says; in the past 15 years, only two Sumatran rhinos have been born in captivity.
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