Conservationists have made the first physical contact in over four decades with a Sumatran rhino in Indonesian Borneo.
The smallest of the three Asian rhino species, hairy rhino numbers have plummeted to fewer than 100 on Earth due to hunting and habitat loss, with the last wild populations in Kalimantan, Borneo, and the island of Sumatra.
Experts said the capture of a female rhino on 12 March was “outstanding” and “unprecedented”, and marked the first live sighting of one in the area in over 40 years rather than on camera trap or by evidence such as footprints and dung.
“That’s a very, very rare thing,” said Simon Stuart, a rhino expert at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, who said the dense rainforest and remote nature of the area made sightings difficult. “Finding a single Sumatran rhino is good news given we can’t even account for 100 in the world.”