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Sumatran rhino confirmed in Kalimantan for the first time - Video

09/10/2013 16:19:35
world/Asia/2013/kalimantan_rhino

Video traps produce first ever hard evidence of Sumatran rhino population in Kalimantan forests © WWF-Indonesia/PHKA

Indonesian Borneo rhinos confirmed for the first time for decades

October 2013. Using video camera traps, a joint research team that included members from WWF-Indonesia and the district authorities of Kutai Barat, East Kalimantan, have captured video of the Sumatran rhino in East Kalimantan. The footage of the rhinos, the rare Dicerorhinus sumatrensis, is the fruit of three months of research that collected footage from 16 video camera traps. The team is delighted to have secured the first known visual evidence of the Sumatran rhino in Kalimantan.

"This physical evidence is very important, as it forms the basis to develop and implement more comprehensive conservation efforts for the Indonesian rhinoceros," said Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan upon unveiling the video at the opening of the Asian Rhino Range States Ministerial Meeting in Lampung, Sumatra. "This finding represents the hard work of many parties, and will hopefully contribute to achieving Indonesia's target of three percent per year rhino population growth." He emphasized that all parties need to immediately begin working together to develop a scientific estimate of all the remaining Sumatran rhino populations in Kalimantan, and to implement measures to conserve the species, particularly by strengthening the protection and security of the rhinos and their habitats.

Historical records
There were historical records of rhino in Kalimantan, but there have been few, if any sightings for at leat 50 years, though there have been occasional reports of footprints being seen, and a couple of reports of rhino being poached.

Wallowing video - Possibly several rhinos
The remarkable evidence from the camera traps includes footage of a rhino wallowing in the mud to keep its body temperature cool and a rhino walking in search of food. The rhino footage, captured on June 23, June 30 and August 3, is believed to show different rhinos although confirmation of this will require further study.

Nazir Foead, Conservation Director of WWF-Indonesia, said, "To ensure the protection of the species, a joint monitoring team from the Kutai Barat administration, Rhino Protection Unit, and WWF have been conducting regular patrols around the area. WWF calls on all parties, in Indonesia and around the world, to immediately join the effort to conserve the Indonesian rhinoceros".



Commenting on the findings, the district head of West Kutai, Ismael Thomas SH. M. Si., noted "The local administration is fully supporting these conservation activities in West Kutai. We are drafting further laws to protect endangered animals --- including these rhinos."

The Asian Rhino Range States Ministerial Meeting is taking place in Lampung 2-3 October 2013, with participation of goverment representation from Bhutan, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, and Nepal.

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