September 1, 2006

Indonesia finds signs of rare Javan rhino breeding

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

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

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

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

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

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.