Conservationists have spotted a Sumatran rhino in Indonesian Borneo for the first time in 40 years. Until now, humans have only glimpsed signs of the critically endangered species through camera traps or footprints. With only around 100 remaining, it was particularly exciting for conservationists when they came across a female earlier this month.
Just last year, experts warned that the Sumatran rhino is close to becoming extinct. Poachers can sell their horns for even more money than they can nab for African rhino horn, and would often swoop in to kill the animals after reported sightings. Because of this, the new female was secretly whisked away to a sanctuary for protection, where she’ll have a chance for survival safe from poachers.
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Dwindling numbers make it harder for remaining rhinos to meet and breed, and if the females don’t breed often, tumors grow that leave them infertile. The last male Sumatran rhino in the Western Hemisphere living at a Cincinnati zoo was sent to Indonesia last year to hopefully breed with other rhinos there. Experts estimate the female is four or five years old. It is still unclear whether she will be able to help restore the endangered population.
Via The Guardian
Images courtesy of World Wildlife Fund