Wednesday 13 April 2016

Sumatran rhino sighted in Indonesian Borneo for first time in 40 years

WWF said there were indications that the endangered rhino was suffering from a severe infection caused by snares from an earlier poaching attempt

Press Association
Wednesday 6 April 201609.50 BSTLast modified on Wednesday 6 April 201610.12 BST

The first critically endangered Sumatran rhino to be found in an area of Borneo for 40 years has died, wildlife experts said.

The species had been thought to be extinct in Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, until a few years ago when surveying found evidence through camera traps and footprints of 15 Sumatran rhinos in the area.

Last month conservationists hailed the first physical contact with a Sumatran rhino for decades when a four- or five-year-old female was safely captured in Kutai Barat, with plans to move her to a protected forest around 90 miles away.

But now wildlife charity WWF has said it is saddened by news the animal had died.

While the cause of death was still being determined, the conservation group said there were indications that the rhino was suffering from a severe infection caused by snares from an earlier poaching attempt.

Sumatran rhinos are one of two rhino species found in Indonesia, along with the critically endangered Javan rhino which survives in just one place in Java, and are threatened by poaching for their horn and habitat loss.

Carlos Drews, director of the WWF International Global Species programme, said: “WWF is saddened by the news of the death of the Sumatran rhino found in Kalimantan. The hope we felt a few days ago was in celebration of the first live sighting of a rhino that was thought to be extinct in the Indonesian part of Borneo until recent surveys revealed footprints of this unique species.

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