Sumatran rhino in Lampung on brink of extinction

Bandarlampung (ANTARA News) - The Sumatran rhinoceros in Lampung Province is on the brink of extinction duo to poaching activities and weak law enforcement, an environmentalist said.

"The rhino population in Waykambasis is now about 30, and in Bukit Barisan 80. Their reproduction capability is worrying due to the impact of climate change," chairman of the Indonesian Rhino Foundation, Widodo Ramono, said here on Thursday after attending a coordinating meeting on biological natural resource and ecosystem conservation.

The rhinoceros is an endangered animal and only human beings can help them survive, he said.

Ironically, however, human beings have caused the rhino population to drop by their practice of hunting the animal for its organs that are believed to have medicinal properties, he said.

He said a one-year jail term and a fine of Rp300,000 were too mild punishment for rhino poaching.

"The rhino population can be maintained only if the law on animal protection is revised. And this is what we are currently discussing," he said.

The Sumatran rhino population was now in a better condition than the Javan rhino population.

"Nationally, the rhino population is between 180 and 200 but in Lampung alone they number 120," he said.

The Sumatran Rhinoceros is a herbivorous browser that belongs to the order of the Perissodactyla and is one of the three species of Rhinos native to Asia.

Its habitat is dense tropical rain forest and it is to be found in a part of the world stretching from North-East India through Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and the Indonesian Islands of Borneo and Sumatra - hence its name.

It is the most endangered rhino species as its population has declined more than 50% in the last 15 years. There are currently 275 Sumatran Rhinos left in fragmented populations throughout South East Asia.

The Sumatran rhinoceros is the only Asian rhinoceros with two horns.
(Uu.F001/HAJM)

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