BANDAR LAMPUNG, Indonesia — In a two-week survey of the thick forest of Sumatra’s Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in the 1990s, Indonesian conservationist Agus Setiawan says he found signs of the rare and threatened Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis). “I found the footprint and dung,” Agus, who now lectures at Lampung University, said in an interview with Mongabay Indonesia last November. He didn’t encounter a rhino in the flesh, however — the animals tend to steer clear of encounters with humans, and sightings are exceedingly rare. In the wild, the Sumatran rhino is a solitary species, except when it’s mating and rearing its young. It maintains a permanent home range, with the males staking out a bigger territory than the females. Rosa, a wild-born female Sumatran rhino, now lives at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park. Image courtesy of Terri Roth. The rhinos used to roam much of South and Southeast Asia, but these last remnants of Dicerorhinus, the most primitive rhino genus, have seen their numbers and range decimated by habitat loss, climate-induced forest fragmentation, and poaching. Today, Indonesia is the last refuge on Earth for the critically endangered species, with fewer than 80 individuals believed to remain. Most are in Sumatra, with a handful thought to occur in Indonesian Borneo. Bukit Barisan Selatan, a protected area since 1935 and one of the last sites of primary lowland rainforest in Sumatra, is believed to hold some of these rhinos. In 2005, a female rhino was found…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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