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Rhinoceros sondaicus in London Zoo

The Javan rhinoceros is a member of the family Rhinocerotidae and one of five extant rhinoceroses. Its horn is usually less than 25 cm (10 inches), smaller than those of the other rhino species. Once the most widespread of Asian rhinoceroses, the Javan rhinoceros ranged from the islands of Java and Sumatra, throughout Southeast Asia, and into India and China. The species is critically endangered, with only one known population in the wild, and no individuals in captivity. It is possibly the rarest large mammal on earth, with a population of as few as 40 in Ujung Kulon National Park on Java in Indonesia. The decline of the Javan rhinoceros is attributed to poaching, primarily for their horns, which are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine. The Javan rhino can live approximately 30–45 years in the wild. It historically inhabited lowland rain forest, wet grasslands and large floodplains. The Javan rhino is mostly solitary, except for courtship and offspring-rearing, though groups may occasionally congregate near wallows and salt licks. Aside from humans, adults have no predators in their range. Scientists and conservationists rarely study the animals directly due to their extreme rarity and the danger of interfering with such an endangered species. Researchers rely on camera traps and fecal samples to gauge health and behavior. Consequently, the Javan rhino is the least studied of all rhino species. (more...)

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