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Javan rhino caught on camera (WWF)
Javan rhino caught on camera (WWF)
Cat Tien National Park (danielguip)
Cat Tien National Park (danielguip)

Javan rhino declared extinct in Vietnam

26th October 2011

A survey has confirmed the death of the last known Javan rhino in Vietnam, with only a small population now remaining in Indonesia to ensure its survival

Illegal poaching has resulted in the extinction of the Javan rhino in Vietnam, meaning visitors to Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam will have to cross the species off their checklist of wildlife to spot.

Between 2009 and 2010 the WWF conducted a field survey to determine the population of Javan rhinos in Cat Tien Park. Trained dogs were used to sniff out rhino dung samples, which then went through DNA analysis. Results of the survey published yesterday confirmed that all the dung found in the park belonged to a single rhino, which was found dead shortly after the survey was completed.

Javan rhinos were previously thought to be extinct in Asia until 1988 when a small population was discovered. From the mid-1990s habitat protection programmes were set up to protect the rhino and its food sources, ultimately leading to the establishment of the National Park. Even in protected areas however, it has proven difficult to prevent illegal poaching.

Rhinos are often poached for their horns, a valuable ingredient in traditional Asian medicine. The horns have even been claimed to cure cancer, even though there is no scientific evidence to prove this.

WWF conservations say that re-introduction of the species into Vietnam is not practically or economically feasible, and that conservation efforts will now have to be focused on the remaining members of the species, which are believed to number around 50, on the Indonesian island of Java.

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