Javan Rhino Officially Declared Extinct in Vietnam

© WWF-Greater Mekong

Authorities have confirmed that remains found in April 2010 are in fact those of the last living Javan rhinoceros in Vietnam. Found in Cat Tien National Park with a bullet in its leg and its horn removed, the rhino was a victim of poaching.

Fueled by black market demand and motivated by steadily increasing value, poachers—combined with habitat loss—have driven the species to the brink of total extinction throughout its natural range.

Rhino horn is coveted by people throughout East and South East Asia as a traditional remedy for high fever and other ailments. Scientific studies of rhino horn, however, have found that it has no therapeutic value.

With the species officially extirpated from Vietnam, it is believed that the global population is now less than 50 individuals—all located in Indonesia.

"For the Javan rhino," WWF's Asian species expert, Dr. Barney Long, explained, "we now have to focus entirely on one site in Indonesia where strengthened protection is needed along with fast-tracking the proposed translocation and habitat management."

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Tags: Animals | Conservation | Endangered Species