The Javan rhino is one of the world's rarest mammals. With only 57 remaining in the world (and none in captivity), these incredible animals are extremely rare and very vulnerable to extinction. In fact these images, which were captured by photographer Stephen Belcher in Indonesia’s Ujung Kulon National Park are a first in nearly 15 years!
As you can see from the photo, the Javan rhino is a smaller and lighter bodied rhino standing 1.4-1.7 meters at the shoulder and weighing 900-2,300kgs. hey have a single grey horn, usually less than 20cm in lgenth, which they use for scraping mud from the sides of wallows, pulling down food plants, and for protection of the head and nose when breaking through dense vegetation. These animals live off of leaves, young shoots and twigs and live an average of 35 to 40 years in the wild.
While rhinos are a hardy species, many of their subspecies are on the edge of extinction and that is the same story for the Javan rhino.
Currently there is only a single population of these rhinos remaining in a small protected area on the island of Java. The population originally recovered well here going from having fewer than 30 individuals in 1967 to between 50 and 60 in 1980. Unfortunately, since then the population has been stagnant with approx 57 animals remaining. A volcano, disease, tsunami or poaching could wipe them out forever. However, there may still be hope...
In the words of WWF's Dr. Barney Long: “We have brought white, black and Indian rhinos back from the brink of extinction. Now it’s time to do the same for the Javan rhino.”
Let's continue to work towards the hope that these beautiful creatures have not seen the end of their days.