By Emma-Louise Nicholls, on 25 October 2011
It is with a very heavy heart that I bring you the news that the second subspecies of Javan rhino, the Vietnamese Javan rhino, has been driven to extinction thanks to poachers. The third subspecies, the Indonesian Javan rhino, is now the last remaining representative of this entire species. The loss of the population in Vietnam is called a local extinction for the species and means that Vietnam has now lost all of its rhinos. A sad loss of heritage for the people.
The last individual was found dead, with a bullet hole in its leg and its horn removed.
Rhino horn is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. However, it is made of keratin, the same material as your finger nails and has been repeatedly scientifically proven to have no medicinal value whatsoever. The rhinos are dying for nothing.
Nick Cox, the manager of WWF’s Species Programme in Vietnam said “The tragedy of the Vietnamese Javan rhinoceros is a sad symbol of this extinction crisis. The single most important action to conserve an endangered species is protecting their natural habitat and deterring poaching and illegal wildlife trade.” He went on to say that protected areas need more rangers, better training and monitoring, and more accountability for poachers.
There are around 50 Indonesian Javan rhinos left. The white rhino came back from less than 100 individuals to over 17,500, proving that it is not too late to save the Javan rhino. It can be done. Please help to highlight this issue by visiting the sites below and spreading the word.