Posted on 19 January 2006
A camera trap recently captured photos of a critically endangered Javan rhinoceros in Vietnam’s Cat Tien National Park. The Javan rhinoceros is perhaps the most threatened large mammal in the world, with only two populations known to exist in the wild.
A camera trap recently captured photos of a critically endangered Javan rhinoceros in Vietnam’s Cat Tien National Park. The animal, which was wallowing in a muddy pool when the photo was taken, appears to be an individual which has been photographed before.
The Javan rhinoceros is perhaps the most threatened large mammal in the world, with only two populations known to exist in the wild. In the Ujong Kulon National Park in Java (Indonesia) there are about 50 to 60 animals, and the second population is in Cat Tien National Park where only three to seven rhino remain.
Throughout Asia, rhino horn is highly valued as a powerful traditional medicine. Despite the fact that medical claims have never been scientifically proven, and hunting and trading in parts of any rhino is forbidden under Vietnamese and international laws through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the illicit trade continues, and these incredible creatures have been pushed to the very brink of extinction.
WWF’s Cat Tien National Park Conservation Project (CTNPCP), funded by the government of the Netherlands in order to protect the park's special lowland forest and critically endangered Javan rhino, ended in 2004. However, WWF, the Dutch government and the US Fish and Wildlife Service are committed to continue assisting the protection of the rhinos and their habitat.
In July 2005, a monitoring programme for the rhinos was reinstated in the field. Although footprints and other physical evidence of rhinos are routinely observed and collated by Cat Tien National Park’s forest guards, it was not until December that any photographs were taken of the Javan rhino under this programme.