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The Almost Extinct Javan Rhinoceros

The Javan rhinoceros resembles the Indian rhino, although slightly smaller. They are roughly the same size as the Black rhino.

The Javan rhinoceros resembles the Indian rhino, although slightly smaller. They are roughly the same size as the Black rhino. Their horn is the smallest of all the Rhinoceros.

The Javan rhino was once the most common of all the Asian rhinoceros. They ranged from Indonesia, Southeast Asia, and even went into India and China. Sadly, this rhino has been hunted to near extinction. There are only two places they can now be found; Ujung Kulon National Park in the Javan Islands and Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam. The Javan rhinoceros population is below 60, making them the rarest large mammal on earth. The only predator to an adult Javan is humans.

There are many reasons why the Javan rhinoceros is at the brink of extinction. Sadly, the blame can all be traced back to man. The horn of this rhinoceros sells for around 30,000 dollars per kilogram on the black-market. The horn is either used to make Chinese medicine or for dagger hilts. Loss of habitat and wars, like the Vietnam War, has also helped cause the extinction of this species. Despite the fact that the Javan Rhino lives in a protected area and there are strict laws about killing them, even today poachers still hunt them. The saddest fact is that even if the remaining 60 are not poached, their genetic diversity is so small it will lead to inbreeding and genetic diseases. The heartbreaking truth is that the Javan Rhino can probably not be saved.

If this rhinoceros were not near extinction, they would be mostly found near rain forests and flatlands. Like all Rhinos, they are vegetarians and their behaviour is much like that of the Indian Rhino. At one time, they shared their habitat with the Javan tiger. Sadly, due to poaching for their skins, lack of prey and loss of habitat, they went extinct in the 1980s. Unfortunately, the Javan Rhinoceros will probably soon follow them into extinction.

Strict laws and serious conservation efforts are being put forth to protect the remaining Javan Rhinos. However, they are not enough. In early May 2010 in Vietnam, the body of a Javan Rhinoceros was found killed by poachers. They had left the body to rot, simply taking their horn. Now only seven Javan rhinos are left remaining in the Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam.

It is a difficult situation. What can be done when all conservation attempts and laws fail? Placing the remaining Javan rhinos in a zoo is not the best answer as it has been proven that they do not adapt well to captivity. Their life span that is usually 30-45 years is decreased by 15-20. They also have difficulties breeding in captivity. It has been suggested by some extreme environmentalists that injecting a poison in the horn, will stop that poaching at the source.

It is a sad fact that the Javan Rhinoceros will probably not be alive for much longer. We can pray that their death will not be in vain and that greater conservation efforts will be put forth for all animals, so we do not lose another. How many animal species do we need to lose before we are willing to make the serious changes needed to save them?

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Comments (1)

Good write-up. I have to admit I have never heard of the Javan Rhino..

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