The Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus) is one of the rarest large mammals in the world and is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It is one of five species of rhinoceros and is native to the dense rainforests and grasslands of Java, Indonesia, and possibly Vietnam.
There are only an estimated 68 Javan rhinos remaining in the wild, all of which are found in the Ujung Kulon National Park on the western tip of Java. The main threat to Javan rhinos is habitat loss and degradation due to human activities, such as agricultural expansion and infrastructure development. Poaching for their horns, which are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine, is also a major threat.
Javan rhinos have one horn (other extant species have two horns). Its horn is the smallest of any extant rhinoceros, typically less than 20 cm (7.9 in), and the longest recorded only 27 cm (11 in).
Only bulls have horns.
Cows are the only living rhinos that remain hornless into adulthood, although they may develop small bumps one or two inches high.
Javan rhinos don’t seem to use their horns often in combat, but instead use it to scrape mud off amphibians, cut down plants for food, and open paths through dense vegetation.
Like all rhinos, Javan rhinos have a great sense of smell and hearing, but have very poor eyesight. They are estimated to live from 30 to 45 years.
The leather has a natural mosaic pattern that gives the rhino an armored look.
The Javan rhino is solitary except in breeding pairs and mothers with calves. They sometimes congregate in small groups at salt licks and mud wallows. Rolling in mud is a common behavior for all rhinos; this activity allows them to keep their body temperature low and helps prevent disease and parasite infestation.
Bulls mark their territories with piles of dung and spraying them with urine.
It is skittish and retreats to dense forests as soon as humans are around. Nevertheless, when humans get too close, the Javan rhino becomes aggressive and attacks by stabbing with the incisors of the lower jaw while thrusting its head upwards.
The Javan rhino is a herbivore, eating around 50 kg (110 lb) of food per day. It needs salt in its diet. Salt licks common in its historical range are absent at Ujung Kulon, but rhinos have been observed drinking seawater there, presumably for the same nutritional need.
Conservation efforts to protect the Javan rhino are ongoing and include habitat restoration, anti-poaching patrols, and community education and involvement. The survival of this species depends on continued conservation efforts, so it’s important that we all do what we can to help protect them.
There are several things that people can do to help save the Javan rhino and other endangered species:
Support conservation efforts: You can support conservation organizations working to protect the Javan rhino, such as the International Rhino Foundation, by donating money or volunteering your time.
Reduce your environmental impact: One of the biggest threats to the Javan rhino is habitat loss and degradation due to human activities. You can help reduce your impact on the environment by using less water and energy, reducing waste, and eating less meat.
Spread awareness: Educate yourself and others about the Javan rhino and the threats it faces. Share information on social media and talk to your friends and family about the importance of conservation.
Avoid products made from endangered species: Products made from rhino horn, such as traditional Chinese medicine and decorative carvings, contribute to the poaching of rhinos. Avoid buying these products and encourage others to do the same.
Support sustainable tourism: Responsible eco-tourism can provide income for local communities and encourage conservation efforts. Look for tourism operators who prioritize the well-being of the environment and wildlife.
Remember, every little bit helps when it comes to protecting endangered species like the Javan rhino. By working together, we can help ensure a future for these magnificent animals.
By W.F.A. Zimmermann, Library of Congress gives his death at 1864. — Rhino Resource Center; new scan from the original, Berlin 1861., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2923798
By Peter Maas — Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5734641
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