Sumatran Rhino is Back in the Gunung Leuser Area

The number of Sumatran rhinos in the Leuser always be questioned in various inter-agency forum for discussion of international wildlife conservation. Compared the distribution of rhinos in various countries, the presence of rhinos in the Leuser most mysterious.

"Other areas are always up the numbers. But, turn Leuser, which appears is a question mark," said Jamal M. Gawi, Director of the Leuser International Foundation.

A question mark is given for number of Sumatran rhinos in the Leuser was never known for certain. Understandably, the last 26 years Sumatran rhinos have disappeared from the Leuser area because it was never found.

Conditions that trigger the Leuser International Foundation and the Gunung Leuser National Park working together to collect data of rhino population in the region. They put 30 units of camera traps. Over the past six months had taken nearly a thousand photographs. There is a photograph rhinos which was recorded foraging in the highlands jungle, and there are currently busy soaking in mud puddles.
Female rhino caught on camera in the Gunung Leuser National Park, Aceh. (Picture from:
The photograph is strong evidence that the Sumatran rhino is still exploring the forest in Gunung Leuser National Park, Aceh. "Sumatran rhino is found in the Leuser back after 26 years declared extinct," said Jamal M. Gawi, Director of the Leuser International Foundation, told to Tempo on Monday (August 6, 2012).

"The number is estimated to 7-25 individuals and are all in good health," said Jamal. Female rhino caught on camera with his head up the estimated age of 8 years.

Rhinoceros caught in the portrait dated December 9, 2011 at 13:55 was not the only individual of ​​Sumatran rhinoceros in the 2.6 million hectares area. With the officer Gunung Leuser National Park, Leuser International Foundation team managed to record the activity of a number of other rhinos.

The survey is supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services was obtained about a thousand rhinos footprints. Meanwhile, that was certainly identified, there is one male and seven female individuals.

There are other interesting findings, namely the parent and child rhino tracks and some footprints of two rhinos who allegedly is a partner. "This shows there is a process that leads to rhino mating, so the population can grow," said Jamal.

The research team also found 15 active pools at the two sites and 28 inactive pools which are not used anymore. Jamal said the mud was a favorite rhinoceros.
Sumatran rhinos are soaking in a mud puddle. (Picture from: KORAN TEMPO 3965)
The existence of the two-horned rhino in the Leuser monitored by "a number of camera traps placed in some trees. The research team set up 30 unit camera, since mid-2011. Everything is installed in a location rhino wallow. "Rhino is like bathing in mud," said Jamal.

The camera uses infrared sensors to detect movement of animals (rhinos) at the same time as the trigger of the camera. Instant cameras capture images of the rhinoceros as it passed. Without sound, without the flash, just blink. Total thousand portraits from the twenties rhinoceros as one rhinoceros could photographed dozens of times.

Rhino gender identification is determined by morphological rhino features in general. Males individual have relatively larger body than the females. Both males and females have two horns, but the horn of male rhino is much longer and pointed. While the females tend to be shorter and blunt.

Jamal said the appearance of Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) in the Leuser brings a glimmer of new hope for the conservation of endangered species. Moreover, the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) declared the status of the endangered Sumatran rhinoceros. "Only a step toward extinction," he said.

The claim was not excessive. The number of Sumatran rhinos in the world probably only about 200 individuals. That was only found in Leuser and Way Kambas, Indonesia and some parts of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia.

Sumatran rhino is the smallest among the five species of rhino in the world. It has 120-145 centimeters tall, with a body length of about 550 centimeters and weighs less than one ton. These rhinos are very distinctive because of thick skin covered with reddish hair. These characteristics are not found in other rhino species.

Sumatran rhinoceros in Leuser is very unique. These rhinos live in the highlands at an altitude of 1,500-2,000 meters above sea level. "Habitat in the highlands and is still heavily wooded, so there is no influence of human activities other than hunting," he said.

Jamal estimates that the entire rhino in the Leuser whose image was caught on camera is a juvenile or adult individuals. None of the portraits that show puppies rhino. But the composition of male and female individuals could not be ascertained. Estimated age of rhinoceros also uncharted. The team will make the collection of rhino dung as a further population analysis.

The appearance of Sumatran rhinos in the Leuser deliberately not widely publicized. The team of researchers from the Gunung Leuser National Park and Leuser Internasional Foundation does not disclose information about coordinates location of the rhinoceros. They worry that information will spread into the wrong hands.

"Rhinos are live in the forest that used to be accessible to everyone. Unlike Java rhinos living in the conservation area," said Jamal.
Five species of rhinoceros. (Picture from:
Indonesia has two of the five species of rhinoceros. Besides Sumatran rhino, Indonesia also has the Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus) are only found in Ujung Kulon National Park, Banten. Population is much smaller than the Sumatran rhinoceros, which is about 50 individuals. Three other species are the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) and white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) in Africa and the Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) in Nepal and India.

The number of Sumatran rhinos continue to decline by 50 percent over the past two decades. The cause is the high poaching for rhino horn and take the rampant encroachment.
The baby of Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) Andatu with its parent Ratu in the SRS Way Kambas National Park, East Lampung. (Picture from:
Sumatran rhino conservation efforts to meet the new expectations when females rhinoceros give birth to a male rhinoceros at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas, East Lampung, on June 23, 2012 and was named Andatu taken from the name of its parent compound, Andalas and Ratu. *** [MAHARDIKA SATRIA HADI | KORAN TEMPO 3965]
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