Javan Rhinoceros

The Javan rhinoceros, also known as the Lesser One-Horned Rhino, is a mammal indigenous to Ujung Kulon peninsula, Western Java, Indonesia. It is an endangered species with thirty to forty left in the world, and If unprotected they could go extinct because of a single disease or a single natural disaster.

The Javan rhino is a smaller relative of the greater one-horned rhino, and it can be anywhere from 1.4 to 1.7 meters tall at the shoulder. Similar to the African black rhinoceros, they can weigh anywhere from 900 to 2,300 kilograms. In the wild, Javan rhinos are estimated to live to be thirty-five to forty years old. The Javan rhino’s skin color is usually grey or grey brown and black when wet with pink colored folds. Likewise with all Asian rhinos Javan rhinos have sharp, long lower incisor teeth. The rhinos use this in fight and they can inflict great damage. The rhinos also have two rows of six strong molars on each side. These can be used to cut the woody parts of their food. Throughout their lifespan the teeth wear down by several centimeters. The Javan rhinoceros has a single grey horn that is usually less than twenty centimeters long. The male Javan rhino has a larger horn than females; some females in Ujung Kulon have no horn or just a small knob on the nose. Their horns are not used for fighting but instead used for scraping mud from the side of wallows and for gathering food.

Javan rhinos are usually solitary except for during mating and females with small calves. Male Javan rhinos have territories ranging from twelve to twenty square kilometers. They rarely overlap and there is no proof that the territories are defended by fights. The female Javan rhino’s territory is considerably smaller, only three to fourteen square kilometers and their territories overlap more often.

There is currently a single population of Javan rhinos in western java, Indonesia. Historically, when the population size was much larger, they lived all throughout Southeast Asia. They live in tropical landscapes and eat primarily leaves and twigs, but also eat plants of other kinds.

Currently the largest threat to the Javan rhino is the extremely small population size. This causes inbreeding and a lack of genetic vitality and diversity. Also the two current habitats are much too small to be able to support indefinite survival of the species. Javan rhinos are poached for their horn, which is used as a medicine for fever and pain in Asia. Habitat destruction and loss of vegetation are two other threats to the Javan rhino population. Although all rhino habitats are protected by legislation, large scale encroachment by poor and landless communities is common. Usually the park management doesn’t have the means and political support to counter the invasion. These factors combine to make the populations very susceptible to extinction. Re-population of Javan rhinos in areas where they have been wiped out and rejuvenation of their habitat and food supplies are vital to the conservation of the species.

This entry was written by Ross A. and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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