Hope for Javan Rhino
My heart always sinks when I see animals that I learned about as a child show up with the words "critically endangered" attached to them. Worse yet are when the word they are labeled with is "extinct". To think that our behaviors have totally annihilated an entire species rips me apart.
Today it was the Javan Rhino that crossed my desk. There are less than forty of these wonderful creatures left in the world. This is what gives them their critically endangered status. Although the video is slow and boring, and there is nothing to really "awwwwww" at, it is wonderfully exciting! Over the last decade (ten years), only twelve Javan Rhino births have been recorded. With so few births, it is hard for any species to recover it's numbers. A natural disaster, of which we have had plenty in the last years, could easily wipe out so few a number.
WWF (World Wildlife Federation) was able to capture some footage during November and December of 2010. You can watch it here. It will open in a new window/tab.
This video is actually spliced to show just the rhinos with their calves, and not the months of time between. What we are left with is video footage of two Javan Rhinos with their individual calves. That is two different babies you are seeing! What exciting news!
This wonderful footage was captured by camera traps in Ujung Kulon National Park, which is located on the southern-most tip of the island of Java, an Indonesian island. It is thought that the last real hope for the survival of this species is in this National Park.
Even within the safe boundaries of the Ujong Kulon National Park, the Javan Rhinos are threatened by poachers. Rhino horn is rumored to be a cure for several diseases, and these mammals are killed just for their horns. Aside from that, they are susceptible to disease that standard cattle being brought to the island carry. There is also nature to contend with. Tsunamis and volcanic eruptions could wipe out the National Park at any time, and all the life it holds with it.
What can we do? Learn. By just being aware of the plight of endangered animals, there is more hope than there was before. Don't let any of the Earth's wonderful animals slide off into oblivion because no one cared. In learning about them, you will learn things like not to buy rhino horn. You may even run across an opportunity to take a specific action that will help them. It might be a simple as a donation to help the park they live in, signing a petition to protect them, or simply telling your kids or friends about them.
Find out more about Javan Rhino at World Wildlife Federation.
You never know what small action you will take that really will make a difference.