Sumatran rhino seen in wild for first time in 40 years

The Sumatran rhino seen in the wild for the first time in more than 40 years. © Ari Wibowo / WWF-Indonesia

A Sumatran rhinoceros — a species that hasn’t been seen in the wild in more than 40 years — was captured by conservationists in Borneo this month.

Sumatran rhinos are the smallest of three Asian rhino species that include the Javan rhino and the Greater One-Horned Rhino.

The rhino was spotted in Kalimantan, the Indonesia part of Borneo by conservationists. The female, believed to be between four and five years old, was captured in a pit trap on March 12.

The female Sumatran rhino is believed to be between four and five years old. © Ari Wibowo / WWF-Indonesia

“This is an exciting discovery and a major conservation success,” said Pak Efransjah, CEO of WWF-Indonesia in a release. “We now have proof that a species once thought extinct in Kalimantan still roams the forests, and we will now strengthen our efforts to protect this extraordinary species.”

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It’s estimated that fewer than 100 Sumatran rhinos are left in the wild. Their main threats are poaching and habitat loss.

The rhino was captured in an effort to conserve the species. Conservationists are keeping it in an enclosure for now, but plan to transport her to a protected forest about 150 km from where she was captured.

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