Vietnam hopes one-horn rhinos still exist

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VietnamNet English - 35 month(s) ago 3 readings

VietNamNet Bridge – The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has announced that one-horn rhino (rhinoceros sondaicus) in Vietnam is extinct after a rhino, which was considered the last one in Vietnam, was shot dead recently. However, Vietnamese scientists still believe that one-horn rhinos still can be found at the Cat Tien National Park.



The Cat Tien National Park
Professor Dang Huy Huynh, Chair of the Vietnam Zoology Association, said that in 2001 and 2002, he and some other zoology experts once carried out a survey on rhinos in the area of Cat Loc, Cat Tien and discovered many footprints of rhinos. The footprints were then cast in plaster for preservation at the Cat Tien National Park.

“The found marks show that there could be 3-5 rhinos. There were also the footprints of small rhinos. I believe that once there are children rhinos, then we will have parent rhinos as well,” Huynh said.

“When WWF announced that the rhino which was shot dead last year was the last rhino in Vietnam, I still hope that there are still other rhinos in Vietnam. I still try to persuade experts to investigate if there are any more rhinos in Vietnam,” Huynh continued.

Regarding the footprints found by Huynh and his colleagues, international experts said that though the footprints which were cast in plaster have different sizes, but this does not mean that there were many rhinos. The different sizes of the footprints could be explained by the influences of the environment or the weather. For example, the footprints that left by the rain, or left in moist areas, on thick mud could be deformed or scaled down, which does not truly reflect the original shape.

In reply, Huynh said that this is really a reasonable explanation. However, he still insists on the necessity to continue undertaking other investigations to look for one-horn rhinos in Vietnam. In fact, many species were considered as extinct, but after that, people still can find other individuals.

Also according to Huynh, some 10 years ago, he heard that forest rangers discovered a skeleton of a one-horn rhino. This means that there are two skeletons of the rare and valuable species at the Cat Tien National Park.

“Scientists should seek the support from local residents, especially the ethnic minority people living in the national park area, who can help much because they are very keen on the natural conditions. They can look for animals and then inform to scientists,” Huynh suggested.

Pham Van An, Director of the Lam Dong provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, also said that one should not announce that an animal species is extinct just because he cannot find any signs of the existence of animals for just a short time.

Dr Le Xuan Canh, Director of the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, has also affirmed that it is necessary to conduct deeper surveys before making final conclusion. “We can absolutely hope that one horn rhinos still exist in Vietnam,” he said.

“Surveys and figures that we have found out recently show that at least three Java rhinos still exist in Vietnam,” Canh said, adding that the announcement by WWF was released after a long period of making research, but the conclusion may not be exact.

Other scientists have also affirmed that if not counting on the rhino shot dead last year, there are still at least three rhinos more at the Cat Tien National Park. Meanwhile, some experts believe that there are 8 individuals still living there.

When announcing the extinction of one horn rhino in Vietnam, Christy Williams from WWF said that it is unfeasible to re-introduction of one horn rhinos into Vietnam. Therefore, people will not have the opportunity to see Java rhino in Vietnam any more.

Scientists believe that Java rhinos now are living only at a small national park in Indonesia, and the population of rhinos in the country only comprises of less than 50 individuals. The wild animal has been endangered, because the demand for rhino is increasing once horns of the animal can be used to make traditional medicines for treatment.

Source: VnExpress

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