The Minister of Forestry Inaugurated the First Asian Rhino Range States Meeting

The Minister of Forestry Inaugurated the First Asian Rhino Range States Meeting

Foto bersama dgn delegasi dari India, Nepal, Butan dan India (KEMENHUT/ANTARA)

Bandar Lampung, Indonesia, Oct. 2, 2013 (ANTARA) -- The Ministry of Forestry Zulkifli Hasan Inaugurated the First Asian Rhino Range States Meeting on October 2 at the Novotel Hotel, Bandar Lampung, while the Symposium of the event led by the Ministry's Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation along with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) was held between October 2-3. The Symposium was attended by more than 100 delegates sourced not only from Asian rhino habitat countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Bhutan, India, and Nepal), but also worldwide experts and rhino conservationists, NGOs, and private sectors (Germany, U.S.A., U.K., Thailand, France, Switzerland, and Australia). The event aims to establish the coordination and publication on the importance of the Asian rhino conservation.

The meeting is one out of three conserving efforts initiated by IUCN to the President of Republic of Indonesia two years ago as the strategy to enhance the rhino conservation effort in Asia. Those three rhino conserving efforts are: the International year of Rhino which was already initiated by the President in the Celebration of World Environment Day on July 5, 2012; the establishment of Rhino Task Force which has currently been constituted by the Ministry of  Forestry; and the founding of Asian Rhino Range State meeting which has presently been conducted.

Built on this momentum, it is expected that the event help promote Lampung's tourisme to the world and, the most important thing, to make better understanding to people on the importance of the rhino and other endangered species conservation.

In addition to the the meeting, the Ministry of Forestry, as the organizing party, along with the Lampung provincial government, also will organize a number of side events; Rhino Island Wide Survey Workshop (December 26-28), Welcoming Dinner Reception (October 2), and Field Trip to Way Kambas national Park (October 4).         

Surprisingly, the recent monitoring activity jointly organized by WWF, West Kutai regency government, and other partners suceeded to find a physical proof of the Sumateran rhino existence in West Kutai thanks to the video trap method. This physical proof becomes a paramount fact that the Sumateran rhino still exists, after decades' speculation of its extinction. This finding will be an instrumental input to improve the rhino conserving effort in Indonesia.

Asia posseses three out of five worldwide's rhino - Indian rhino or the greater one-horned rhino  (Rhinoceros unicornis), Javanese rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus), and Sumateran rhino (Dicerorhinos sumatrensis).   

The population of these three rhino species were once numerous throughout Asia. In the end of the day, many factors give contributions on the Asian rhino population decrease, such as: the horn hunting and the habitat degradation and fragmentation, causing the rhino population living throughout Asia drops to less than 3,350 rhinos, and is only able to be found in Indonesia, Malaysia, Bhutan, India, and Nepal. This figures substantially are nothing compared to the other rhino species, such as African black rhino with the population of 5000 and the white rhino with the population of 20,000.

This fact places Javanese rhino into the one among the world's critically endangered species with the population of less than 50 rhinos only found in Ujung Kulon National Park. Following the Javanese rhino, the Sumateran rhino with the population of less than 100 spread across Way Kambas National Park (Indonesia), South Bukit Barisan National Park (Indonesia), and Borneo (Malaysia). Meanwhile, the Greater one-horned Rhino becomes the only Asian rhino whose population to finally be able to be increased to 3,200.        
Such events are also supported by the related institution partners, such as: Indonesia's World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Indonesia Rhino Foundation, International Rhino Foundation (IRF), Indonesia Safari Park, and Arsari Djoyohadikusumo Foundation.

For more information, please contact:
The Organizing Secreatariat Committee of Asian Rhino Range State Meeting
Directorate for Biodiversity Conservation
+6221 57220227