The Javan rhino population in the Ujung Kulon National Park has increased by seven rhinos last year, according to the park’s conservation chairman Mohammad Haryono.
“Based on monitoring [activities] conducted throughout 2013, we know that the number of Javan rhinos living in the TNUK [Ujung Kulon National Park] area is 58, which is comprised of eight young rhinos and 50 teenage and adults,” Haryono said in Pandeglang, Banten, on Wednesday.
He said of the eight young rhinos, three were female, while of the 50 older animals, 20 were female.
Haryono said the park has installed surveillance cameras along areas that are frequented by the endangered animals.
“We have installed 120 video cameras in trees located in areas that are often visited by the rhinos, such as fields and wallows,” Haryono said.
He said the surveillance cameras were especially designed to function at night and that they are able detect movement.
Continuous monitoring was conducted from March to December last year.
A team is tasked with collecting the cameras’ memory cards and replacing their batteries every month.
“During the 10-month surveillance, we collected 16,000 clips but only 1,660 of them contained footage of the Javan rhinos and only 1,388 of the clips were able to properly identify the animals. The remaining showed only their feet or tails, which made it impossible for us to make a proper identification,” the park’s conservation chairman said.
Haryono explained that his team had adopted eight key parameters on the Javan rhino’s morphology to identify each individual animal, such as the size or shape of the horns, skin wrinkles around the eyes, the folds around the neck and the position and shape of the ears, defects or injuries and the color of the skin.
“The morphology of each individual rhino is unique, especially with regard to the wrinkles around their eyes; they are similar to a human hand print and, therefore, will never be the identical,” he said.
Haryono said that based on extensive research and observation, the park was able to accurately confirm the increase in the Javan rhino population with seven animals in the Ujung Kulon National Park.
The Javan rhino is the most endangered of the five species, with those currently living in Ujung Kulon the only 58 remaining in the world. (JakartaGlobe)