In an enormous setback for wildlife conservation, China announced it will allow hospitals to use tiger bone and rhino horn from captive-bred animals for traditional medicine. The decision reverses a decades-old ban that has been instrumental in preventing the extinction of endangered tigers and rhinos.
Much-needed hope for the critically endangered Javan rhino has come in the form of three calves. The calves—one female and two males—were spotted on new camera trap footage from earlier this year, bringing the total number of Javan rhinos up to 60. There are none in captivity.
Stunning images of an elusive Javan rhino were captured by photographer Stephen Belcher in Indonesia’s Ujung Kulon National Park—a first in nearly 15 years of only capturing blurry camera trap images of the animal. Javan rhinos are extremely difficult to photograph because they are very shy and live in dense, often impenetrable rain forests.
As conservationists, we have learned what it takes to help rhinos recover from the very edge of extinction.The formula is quite simple: protect rhinos where they exist, incentivize community stewardship of rhino populations, manage populations for maximum growth, establish new populations in suitable locations for maximum protection and population growth. This formula is achievable, but it does require political will and resources to see the plan through.
Indonesia is home to the only population of Javan rhinos left on the planet. Only about 40 of these rhinos exist there—making the Javan rhino one of the rarest mammals in the world. Because the Javan rhino population is so small and isolated, WWF and its partners are seeking wide agreement and political endorsement for a new, safe and healthy Javan rhino habitat.