Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Indonesia Declares 2012 International Rhino Year

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono declared 2012 International Rhino Year during World Environment Day in Jakarta on Tuesday as part of an initiative from the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Indonesia is among 11 countries supporting the declaration, Yudhoyono said.

“In conjunction with the 2012 World Environment Day . . . I declare 2012 as the International Rhino Year. We’ve agreed to preserve and prevent the extinction of rhinoceros, which live in mere 11 countries now,” Yudhoyono said during his environment day speech at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta.

Other supporters of International Rhino Year include Malaysia, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Bhutan, Nepal, India and Zimbabwe.

“Let’s make the preservation of rhinos part of an effort to establish our nation’s reputation as one of the global leaders in environment-oriented economic development,” he added.

Simon N. Stuart, the chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, said Indonesia was appointed the host of International Rhino Day's inception because it is home to the world’s two most endangered rhino species, namely the Sumatran and Javan rhinos.

There are currently just five rhino species in the world: the Sumatran and Javan rhinos in Indonesia, Indian rhinos in Nepal, India and Bhutan and white and black rhinos in South Africa, Nambia, Kenya, Congo, Zimbabwe and a number of other African countries.

The latest data shows that there are 35 to 40 Javan rhinos in Indonesia (and the world at large). The only other country that once shared in the Javan rhino population, namely Vietnam, reported that its last rhino died last year.

The population of Sumatran rhinos, meanwhile, currently stands at 200, concentrated in Lampung’s Way Kambas National Park and Aceh’s Leuser National Park. (Jakarta Globe)

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