BOGOR, Indonesia — Indonesian biologist Widodo Sukohadi Ramono is one of the longest-standing and most influential figures in the country’s efforts to conserve the Sumatran rhino, a critically endangered species with a population now believed to be no more than 80. Widodo’s love for wildlife and the environment began in middle school in the late 1950s, when he joined a scout troop in his hometown of Blora, Central Java. He went on to study forestry at a vocational school in Bogor, West Java, and after graduating joined the Ujung Kulon National Park agency as a forest ranger. In the early 1980s, Widodo was tasked to head the local conservation agency in Sumatra’s Lampung province. That included overseeing Way Kambas National Park, home to the Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis). That’s when Widodo’s career as a government official kicked off. Over the years, he headed key posts, including as director-general for conservation at the environment ministry, until his retirement in 2005. When Widodo was starting out in the 1980s, the Sumatran rhino population was estimated at around 800. That figure had halved by 1986, and dropped again to 275 by 2008. Much of the population decrease was likely due to revisions of overly optimistic estimates, but these decades were also marked by the inexorable and actual decline of the species. Since 2009, Widodo has headed the Indonesian Rhino Foundation (YABI). His contribution to the conservation of Indonesia’s rich wildlife, especially its two rhino species, is acknowledged globally by the IUCN, the Golden…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer