Skull of the rhino... Photo: WWF
The total estimated population of the Javan rhinoceros in Vietnam was perhaps eight individuals just three years ago. Now WWF reports that there is one less of the beyond critically endangered rhinos in the Cat Tien National Park, with one found dead late last week, its horn removed by poachers.
Roll over image to play slideshow from WWF
Local people reported finding a large dead mammal to park officials at the end of April, with the body confirmed to be a Javan rhino after a search of the area was conducted. Though not yet confirmed, WWF speculates that this could be the last Javan rhino left in Vietnam.
As WWF points out, rhino poaching hit a 15-year high in 2009, with rhino horn being more valuable by weight than gold. The prime cause of the increasing demand is use of the horns in Traditional Chinese Medicine--despite the fact that the horns have been removed from the official pharmacopeia.
There are no Javan rhinos in captivity, with the largest remaining population (estimated at less than 60 individuals) being on the island of Java itself. Historic range (as indicated on the map above) of the Javan rhino extended throughout Java and Sumatra in Indonesia, up through Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, as well as to the northwest through Burma and into the easternmost part of India and Bangladesh.