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Expedition Team Finds A Group of Rhinos in Sabah Jungles

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posted on Mar, 17 2006 @ 02:37 AM
A Malaysian expedition team has discovered at least 13 Sumateran Rhinos deep in the jungles of Borneo. The Sumateran Rhino is thought to be nearly extinct, with a population of around 300 left.

Thirteen rhinos found in Sabah jungles

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - A Malaysian expedition found evidence of at least 13 Sumatran rhinos deep in the jungles of Borneo, giving hope to conservationists that a species thought to be nearly extinct could flourish again if poaching is controlled.

The rhinos were tracked into the dense jungles of Sabah state in Borneo Island in May by a team of 120 government wildlife officials, academics and members of WWF-Malaysia, the WWF said in a statement Friday.

The survey team did not see any rhinos but found clear tracks of 13 individuals in one area, a high number considering they were believed to be virtually extinct, Christy Williams, the head of WWF's Asian rhino programme, told The Associated Press.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

There are three subspecies of the Sumateran Rhino, with a distribution as shown in the map on the left:

  • Dicerorhinus sumatrensis harrissoni
  • Dicerorhinus sumatrensis sumatrensis
  • Dicerorhinus sumatrensis lasiotis (extinct, possibly surviving in Myanmar)

The expedition team found the D. s. harrissoni or Eastern Sumateran Rhino subspecies. Sabah (refer to map on the right) is the last preserve of this subspecies, and it is believed that there are fewer than 50 individuals left, so the discovery of 13 individuals in such a compact location is quite big.

WWF rhino protection units and Sabah state wildlife department have launched patrols in the area to prevent poaching. Sabah's Chief Minister Musa Aman has said that logging will be phased out starting this week in large tracts of the area known as "The Heart of Borneo" which includes the rhino habitat.

External Links:
Wikipedia: Sabah
Wikipedia: Sumateran Rhinoceros
International Rhino Foundation: Sumateran Rhino Information

[edit on 17-3-2006 by Beachcoma]

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