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Vietnamese Rhino Extinct

by Tom Armstrong

Sad news from Vietnam, where the WWF and other wildlife and conservation organisations have announced that they believe the last remaining Vietnamese Rhino has been poached. The Javan Rhino had been on the critically endangered list for some time, but now it appears the battle for its survival has been lost. Once prevalent from Indonesia to India, the Javan Rhino was thought to only exist in Vietnam and Indonesia.

WWF Manager for Vietnam Simon Cox added: “The single most important action to conserve Vietnam’s endangered species is protecting their natural habitat and deterring poaching and illegal wildlife trade. The report shows that these actions were inadequate to save the Javan rhino in Vietnam and this continued situation will no doubt lead to the extinction of many more species from Vietnam. Vietnam’s protected areas need more rangers, better training and monitoring, and more accountability.”

I personally recall visitting National Parks in Vietnam and not seeing a single bird or animal, only insects. There was a sanctuary at the entrance to one of the parks where various primates that had been rescued from poachers were housed. Safe behind wire fences, it seemed somewhat tragic that they were not safer in their natural habitat which surrounded them.

With their proximity to China, whose demand for exotic creatures appears to remain unchanged, and their own passion for hunted meats, it appears the battle for species conservation in Vietnam will be long and tough. Some sources suggest that a kilo of Vietnamese Rhino horn will fetch as much as 30.000 us dollars in China.

Tigers, elephants, crocodiles and a variety of monkeys are still on Vietnam’s endangered list. Let’s hope we can report more positive news in the battle for their preservation in due course.

It is thought there are between 15 and 60 remaining Javan Rhinos in Indonesia, some footage of which can be seen below. For Rhino conservation see www.rhinoconservation.org.

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