Footage filmed during the summer months show a Sumatran rhino wallowing in mud and trekking through the forest on the Indonesian side of Borneo, where they were once plentiful but were thought to have died out many years ago.
Observers believed the critically endangered rhinos only lived on the Malaysian part of Borneo, the world’s third largest island, which is shared by Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei.
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The ecological research, which included 16 camera traps, proves otherwise. The World Wildlife Federation and authorities in Kutai Barata are working together on the project, and the findings were revealed Wednesday at a global meeting on initiatives to protect the rhinos.
“This physical evidence is very important, as it forms the basis to develop and implement more comprehensive conservation efforts for the Indonesian rhinoceros,” Indonesian Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan told Agence France-Presse
“This finding represents the hard work of many parties, and will hopefully contribute to achieving Indonesia's target of 3 percent per year rhino population growth.”
The footage may show different rhinos, although that information warrants further study.
The smallest of its species and the only Asian rhino with two horns, the hairy Sumatran rhino is among the most endangered rhinos.
Fewer than 200 remain mostly due to poaching and habitat loss, according to WWF Global
. Females birth a calf every three to four years.
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