The Sumatran Rhino

Rhino experts doubt recent footprints in Sabah belonging to Sumatran Rhino

Susie Ellis, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation, expressed some doubts on social media, noting that reports of a rhino footprint being found are still “not confirmed.” Besides there is no piece of forest anywhere in Borneo that has been searched more intensively for rhinoceros than Danum Valley, by WWF-Malaysia since 2006 employing many tens of thousands of hours of time by an experienced field team searching for footprints, and tens of thousands of hours of camera trap nights, said John Payne, executive director of the Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA), in a statement emailed to Mongabay. “It is inconceivable that a 500-kilogram mammal would leave a vague outline of a single footprint and no other sign in the vicinity. And inconceivable that an adult rhino – which will have a home range – appears in a specific location where there has been no evidence of the species over the past few years.”
Source: Mongabay

Footprints in Sabah’s rainforests renews hope of Sumatran rhinos in the wild

Thought extinct in Malaysia, the recent discovery of footprints believed to be that of the Sumatran rhinoceros have revived speculation that the animal may still be roaming the rainforests in Malaysia. According to WWF Sabah Terrestrial Conservation Programme manager Sharon Koh Pei Hui, her survey team spotted a 23-cm wide footprint in Sabah’s Danum Valley Conservation Area between August 16 and 29. At first, the survey team thought the footprint belonged to that of a baby elephant but there was no evidence of elephants anywhere nearby which led to hopes that it belonged to a rhino.
The team planned to return to the area last month with experts from the Borneo Rhino Alliance, Sabah Wildlife Department and Forestry Department but was hampered by bad weather and their pilot’s bad health. Noting that the footprint was found within the conservation area but outside a “safe zone”, Koh said there were signs of human encroachment and possibly poachers, which was an added concern. “The Forestry Department has been doing a good job with enforcement and patrolling regularly but meantime, we hope the rhino has moved up into higher ridges of the forest,” she said. Last year, conservation scientists had declared that the Sumatran rhinos were extinct from Malaysian jungles with only three rhinoceroses being held in captivity in Sabah and none having been spotted in the wild since 2011. The last one spotted in peninsular Malaysia was in 2007. Known as solitary animals, these critically endangered animals have to find their way in the increasingly fragmented Borneo forests to find a mate in order to breed. All the three rhinoceroses in captivity at the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary have problems in their reproductive systems and are unable to breed even with the help of scientists.

Sumatran rhino vanished from the Malaysian jungles

Sumatran rhinoceroses are now considered extinct in the wild in Malaysia, says leading scientists and experts in rhino conservation. In the International Journal of Conservation, Oryx, it was stated that the survival of the animal was now dependent on the 100 or fewer remaining individuals in the wild in neighbouring Indonesia and the nine rhinos in local captivity. 2007 marked the last time the Sumatran rhino was seen in the wild in the country, the report claimed, save for the two females captured for breeding purposes in 2011 and 2014. “Scientists now consider the species extinct in the wild in Malaysia. The experts urge conservation efforts in Indonesia to pick up the pace,” it read. The experts pinpointed three actions, captive breeding, intensive management zones and the single population strategy as key conservation actions, but necessary reproductive technology for captive breeding may still take years to develop. Anticipating the technology with lack of any other conservation measures, the report warned, could lead the species to be eradicated in total. The wild animal is believed to have at least halved between 1985 and 1995, with the total number of individuals now estimated at fewer than 200.
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The conclusions were published online in Oryx, which was lead by the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen with addition help from partners the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the International Rhino Foundation and the International Union for Conservation of Nature. When contacted, programme leader of WWF-Malaysia Sabah Terrestrial Conservation Programme K. Yoganand attributed the extinctions to hunting, habitat loss, increased access for hunters to remote areas and small population problems faced by rhinos in recent decades. "Population viability analysis done during the Sumatran Rhino Crisis Summit in 2013 suggested that the species stands a good chance of survival if there are at least 30 adult rhinos with a birth interval of three years or less. "This means that, without intervention, all known wild and captive populations are in an extinction vortex and are not sufficiently abundant to increase in population over time in isolation of each other," he said in reference to a Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet recently released by WWF-Malaysia.

Introduction Sumatran Rhino

The Sumatran rhinoceros, also known as hairy rhinoceros or Asian two-horned rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), is a rare member of the family Rhinocerotidae and one of five extant rhinoceroses. It is the only extant species of the genus Dicerorhinus. It is the smallest rhinoceros, although it is still a large mammal. This rhino stands 112–145 cm (3.67–4.76 ft) high at the shoulder, with a head-and-body length of 2.36–3.18 m (7.7–10.4 ft) and a tail of 35–70 cm (14–28 in). The weight is reported to range from 500 to 1,000 kg (1,100 to 2,200 lb), averaging 700–800 kg (1,500–1,800 lb), although there is a single record of a 2,000 kg (4,400 lb) specimen.

Like both African species, it has two horns; the larger is the nasal horn, typically 15–25 cm (5.9–9.8 in), while the other horn is typically a stub. A coat of reddish-brown hair covers most of the Sumatran rhino's body. Members of the species once inhabited rainforests, swamps, and cloud forests in India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China. In historical times, they lived in southwest China, particularly in Sichuan.
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only 100 sumatran rhinos excist in the wild

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