The female Sumatran rhino was found in West Kutai, in East Kalimantan, last month. (Antara Photo/Sugeng Hendratno)

Critically Endangered Sumatran Rhino Dies Weeks After Being Found


APRIL 06, 2016

Jakarta. A critically endangered Sumatran rhino recently found in East Kalimantan, which was being taken care of by a veterinary team including people from the Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry and the NGO WWF Indonesia, died on Tuesday (05/04), officials said.

The suspected cause of death of the animal named Najaq was a heavily infected wound on her left foot as a result of a poacher's snare. The animal's health had deteriorated since it was captured last month.

Conservationists managed to save Najaq from poachers on March 12.

After the rescue mission, the young female rhino was given medical care by a team of experts from the Environment and Forestry Ministry, Taman Safari Indonesia wildlife park, the Indonesian Rhino Foundation (YBI), the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) and WWF Indonesia.

It was the first time in 40 years that the near-extinct species was seen in East Kalimantan.

"This loss demonstrates the threats faced by the Sumatran rhino and underscores why we need to continue our efforts with the strong support of the government and other experts to save the remaining population of Sumatran rhinos in the area,” said Arnold Sitompul, WWF Indonesia's conservation director.

“The death of Najaq shows that there is still a population of Sumatran rhinos in Kalimantan, which had been assumed to be long extinct. The Environment and Forestry Ministry will continue to conserve the remaining rhinos of West Kutai in East Kalimantan,” said Tachrir Fathoni, a director general at the ministry.

Only about 100 Sumatran rhinos are estimated to remain in the wild, making them one of the rarest mammals in the world. The species is severely threatened due to the loss of habitat caused by deforestation and mining, and illegal wildlife trade.