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Extinction of Vietnam Javan Rhinos confirmed

10-26-2011 09:35 BJT

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The critically-endangered Javan rhinoceros is now officially extinct in Vietnam, according to conservationists.

An endangered rhino found dead in Vietnam last year was the country's last, WWF said, leaving only a small population in Indonesia.

The species was thought to have disappeared from mainland Asia more than 20 years ago until one was tracked down in the Cat Tien area of Vietnam.

It was found to be part of a small population but efforts to conserve them in the National Park area failed - mainly because of poaching, the WWF said.

The last rhino was discovered dead with a bullet in its leg and its horn removed.

Illegal hunting of the animals is driven by demand for rhino horn in Asia, where it is used for traditional medicine.

"The last Javan rhino in Vietnam is gone," said WWF's Tran Thi Minh Hien.

"It is painful that despite significant investment in the Vietnamese rhino population conservation efforts failed to save this unique animal. Vietnam has lost part of its natural heritage."

Other species including the Indochinese tiger, Asian elephant and the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey are facing the same fate in Vietnam as a result of illegal hunting, ineffective management of protected areas and pressure on habitat, WWF warned.

"The single most important action to conserve Vietnam's endangered species is protecting their natural habitat and deterring poaching and illegal wildlife trade," WWF'S Nick Cox said.

He added the protected areas needed more rangers and better monitoring.

After the loss of the Javan rhino in Vietnam, conservationists say expansion of the Indonesian population of the species must now be the priority.

Susie Ellis of the International Rhino Foundation said: "We must ensure that what happened in Vietnam is not repeated in Indonesia a few years down the line."

Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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