Javan Rhinoceros/ Rhinoceros sondaicus:
The Javan rhino is the rarest of the rhino species with fewer than 100 animals surviving in only two known locations, one in Indonesia and the other in Vietnam. Rhinos have been poached from these small populations in recent years and much more intensive protection is needed if this species is to survive.
Height:The Javan rhinoceros is 1.5 - 1.7 m (5 - 5.5 ft) tall at shoulder and its single horn is about 25 cm long.
Weight: The Javan rhinoceros weigh up to 900 - 1,400 kg (2,000 - 3,000 lbs).
Distribution: The Javan Rhinoceros used to be found in Malaya, Burma, Thailand, Indochina, Java, Sumatra and Northern India. But due to the loss of habitat and uncontrolled poaching, there are only about 40 - 60 rhinos surviving in Ujung Kulon National Park on the island of Java in Indonesia and 10-15 more rhinos Cat Loc Nature Reserve in Vietnam. There are currently no animals reported to be in captive.
Javan Rhinos favour dense lowland tropical rainforest with a good supply of water and plentiful mud wallows. Some animals have also been recorded in rainforests that are above 1,000 m.
Appearance: The Javan rhinoceros is of a dusky grey colour with a single horn. The Javan rhinoceros has a skin thathas a number of loose folds giving the appearance of armour plating. Although this species is very similar in appearance to the closely related Great Indian Rhinoceros, it is slightly smaller, with a much smaller head and less developed folds of skin on the neck. Recent research done have shown that horns may be absent in females. The Javan rhinoceros is also unlike its Sumatran cousin as its body is not covered with hair.
Behavior: The Javan rhinoceros has many same similarities with the Sumatran rhinoceros in terms of behaviour. Like its cousin, it is a solitary animal with the exception of mothers and their young. The Javan rhinoceros is also well-known for its marking behavior and although mostly a browser, the animal will also graze.
Diet: The Javan rhinoceros like the Sumatran rhinoceros, is a herbivore. It feeds on shoots, twigs, young foliage and fallen fruit. It can feed on food up to 50 kilograms of food daily.
Lifespan: It is estimated that a Javan rhinoceros can live for about 35 to 40 years.
Reproduction: Female Javan rhinoceros become sexually mature at ages of 3 to 4 while the males become sexually mature at 6 years.
Gestation period of Javan rhinoceros is approximately 16 months, and the interbirth interval of one calf is every 4 to 5 years. The single offspring is active soon after birth, being suckled by the mother for at least one and perhaps two years. Till now, no defined mating season by the Javan rhinoceros has been observed.
Why it is Endangered: Loss of habitat and massive poaching are the two main reasons for the Javan rhinoceros to be critically endangered today.
The two small Javan Rhino populations inVietnam and Indonesia are extremely susceptible to poaching, disease, or natural disaster. The populations are probably also prone to inbreeding depression and genetic erosion.
Poaching occurs mainly for body parts, especially the horn, which are believed to have medical abilities. The body parts of the Javan rhinoceros is used in traditional Asian medicines.
For example, in South Korea, the horn is used primarily for the treatment of a variety of ailments ranging from epilepsy, fevers, strokes and even AIDS. A reputable Taiwanese doctor recently argued that rhino horn was irreplaceable in medicine, a statement that was supported by a survey of medical practitioners. It is also said that the horn of the Javan rhinoceros is more medicinally effective than that of the African rhinoceros.
Conservation: Probably less than 75 Javan rhinoceros roam the Earth today. In addition, both remaining Javan Rhino populations are found in protected areas, and it has been said that this would ensure that the Javan rhinoceros would not go extinct. Today, between 23 and 60 Rhinos are present in Ujung Kulon National Park, Java.
A small population estimated at between 8 and 15 animals was recently discovered in Vietnam. In vietnam, it has been proposed to link the 35,000ha area of Javan Rhino distribution in Vietnam with the adjoining 45,000ha Nam Bai Cat Tien National Park to increase the chances of reproduction among the Javan rhinoceros.
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