A Javan Rhino Calf Caught on Camera This Month

A Javan rhino calf was recently captured on camera traps in Ujung Kulon National Park. This news brings joy to the conservation world, as it adds to the population of Javan rhinos in the area, bringing the total to 82 individuals. Ardi Andono, the head of Ujung Kulon National Park, explained that the recorded Javan rhino calf is a newly discovered individual.

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Javan Rhino Calf Caught on Camera Trap | Doc: Balai TN Ujung Kulon

“This is the latest result from the camera traps we installed in February 2024. The video shows a Javan rhino calf walking with its mother. However, we only obtained one recording,” he told VOA News on Saturday (6/4).

Although the gender of the Javan rhino calf is not yet known for certain, its age is estimated to be between 3 and 5 months. Due to its position not directly in front of the camera trap, its gender cannot be identified. For now, this individual has been given the identity ID.093.2024.

“We suspect this is a new individual due to its small size. We estimate it to be only three months old. This is the youngest Javan rhino we have ever captured on camera trap. So, we assume that this is a new individual,” Ardi explained.

Ardi explained that the discovery of a new individual Javan rhinoceros indicates that the Ujung Kulon National Park area is still well-preserved. In 2024, the national park authorities implemented a new method regarding conservation area security.

“The new method for security is the full protection system, where the entire Ujung Kulon Peninsula is off-limits to people. We also implemented a new method for installing camera traps, completely reinstalling them without using old data. This way, we start afresh, aiming to scan the entire Ujung Kulon National Park area,” he explained.

Satyawan Pudyatmoko, the Director General of Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation (KSDAE), stated that the Javan rhinoceros calf originates from a parent that has been identified by its prominent horn. However, the head of the adult Javan rhino is not clearly visible, making facial features unidentifiable.

“Nevertheless, the name and identity of the parent rhinoceros have not been clearly identified due to its proximity to the camera trap,” Satyawan said in his official statement.

Although Javan rhinos can reproduce, it does not mean that the habitat and protected individuals are safe from various disturbances such as hunting activities, predators, diseases, potential inbreeding depression, and natural disasters. These various disturbances still threaten the existence and conservation of Javan rhinos.

“Therefore, we and all parties involved in the efforts to conserve Javan rhinos must not be complacent and always anticipate any threats that may arise,” emphasized Satyawan.

The discovery of a Javan rhinoceros calf in the Ujung Kulon National Park area is a subsequent finding. In 2022 and 2023, two new Javan rhinoceros calves were recorded by camera traps in Ujung Kulon National Park. Both were females identified as ID.091.2022 and ID.092.2023. Currently, the estimated number of Javan rhinos in Ujung Kulon National Park is believed to be 82 individuals.

The Javan rhino is a rare species listed among Indonesia’s top 25 priority conservation species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the Javan rhino as critically endangered in the wild.

Source: VOA Indonesia