Image credit: AP Photo/WWF Malaysia, Stephen Hogg, HO
The sighting of a potentially pregnant female Sumatran rhino has given conservationists new hope for the critically endangered species—which has fewer than 300 individuals left in the wild. Though the population is larger than the Javan rhino, population fragmentation, habitat loss, and poaching place greater pressure on the species.
Image credit: iStockphoto.com/Arshad Abdullah
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Dr. Terri Roth, an international rhino expert, commented:
It would be wonderful if this female is pregnant...since there are so few Sumatran rhinos left in the world that each calf represents a lifeline for the species.
She added that there were less than 20 Sumatran rhinos left in Borneo.
Logging—both illegal and legal—and the palm-oil industry, are the main threats to the rhino. Enforcement of logging laws have proven difficult because many of the areas of protect rhino habitat lie near, or even overlap with, human settlements.
Then, there is the issue of poaching. While the price of rhino horn continues to climb—with some valued more than gold—Sumatran rhinos are also hunted for use in traditional medicine. The elusive rhino is very difficult to track, so poachers use pit and spear traps to catch them.
For conservations struggling to enforce habitat protection and anti-poaching laws, the news of a pregnant rhino gives new hope. As Dr. Roth explained:
There are so few Sumatran rhinos left in the world that each calf represents a lifeline for the species.
Read more about rhinos:
Rhino Horn Now Worth More Than Gold - And You Wonder Why Poaching Continues...
China Importing Rhinos to Harvest Their Horns?
7 Endangered Species We Can't Believe are Single