Fight to save Javan Rhino from extinction is on track, say experts

Plan to increase numbers of highly endangered species from 50 to 75 over five years

JAKARTA, 2012, April 19 – A public-private partnership set up to save the Javan Rhino from extinction has reported that its goal of increasing the existing population in Ujung Kulon National Park by 50 per cent over five years is making progress – 12 months after the team was set up.

The Javan Rhino Conservation Working Group (CWG) is a multi-disciplinary team made up of experts from Ujung Kulon National Park, local NGOs, private sector companies and academics. This week, the CWG reported on its first year in operation.

Important steps have been taken to improve protection of the rhino habitat within Ujung Kulon, and cut down on encroachment by local communities and poaching.

And video from new camera feeds set up within the rhino habitat has revealed a flourishing community of an estimated 35 individual rhinos, including – critically – several juveniles.

In the long-term, high value eco-tourism could provide the economic framework to allow the number of Javan Rhinos to grow sustainably again.

Dr. Ir. Moh. Haryono, M.Si, Head of Ujung Kulon National Park and Chairman of the Javan Rhino Conservation Working Group said:

“The video we are distributing worldwide today shows that the battle to save the Javan Rhino from extinction is not lost. There is a small but thriving community of rhinos within the National Park which can grow if the conditions are right.”

“In the first 12 months of the CWG, with the help of our public and private sector partners, we have taken critical steps to protect the habitat of the rhinos, by focusing on community development and education.”

There are 15 villages in the vicinity of the 122, 451 Ujung Kulon National Park – on the far western tip of Java.

Over the past 12 months, the CWG has implemented a number of community development projects – providing education and alternative livelihoods that improve villagers’ livelihoods and therefore avoid encroachment into the conservation area.

The projects have had an immediate and positive impact on the local community. They include a 3.4 kilometersbamboo piping installation that now carries clean water to surrounding remote villages, and organic agriculture training provided to farmers in the area, which has dramatically increased the rice harvest yield in its first harvesting season.

Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) is one of the main private sector partners within the CWG. As part of its overall sustainability strategy, APP is committed to the protection of Indonesia’s biodiversity and endangered species.

Aida Greenbury, Managing Director Sustainability & Stakeholder Engagement of APP said:

“Saving the Javan Rhino from extinction requires a strategic focus on three factors: economic development, social progress and habitat enhancement. In its first year, the CWG is heading in exactly that direction, and we are proud to be part of it.”

In the first 12 months, the CWG carried out habitat enhancement and restoration activities for the Javan Rhino, such as vegetation control of an invading plant species Langkap (Arenga obtusifolia) that has overgrown and eliminated plants the herbivore mammal feed on. It has also supported the Javan Rhino population monitoring with video traps.

Ir. Novianto Bambang W., M.Si., Director of Biodiversity Conservation, Ministry of Forestry, said:

“This collaboration is an excellent example of public-private partnership in practice. We encourage other partners to also seek an active participation in such collaboration in the future that will support the country’s efforts towards endangered species conservation.”

This week, the CWG reported to Ir. Darori, Director General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation, Ministry of Forestry Republic of Indonesia, on its first year in operation.

Aida Greenbury added:

“We thank the Ministry of Forestry for involving the private industry to support this conservation project. We hope that in the second year the working group will be joined by other private companies as well as experts that can continue to help and guide its future activities, to achieve the objectives of Javan Rhino conservation in the future, which will be transparently reported to public.”

The Javan Rhino was once one of the most widespread of the Asian rhinos, with thousands of animals ranging across Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and Peninsula Malaysia. Hundreds of years of game hunting during the Dutch Colonial era caused a dramatic reduction in the population. The number of remaining Javan Rhinos continued to decline in the latter 1900s due to illegal poaching for the valuable and rare single horn of the unique animal as well as forest encroachment that resulted in habitat degradation.

For more information or comment, please contact:

Redita Soumi
APP Indonesia
E: redita_soumi@app.co.id

Javan Rhino Conservation Working Group
Uus Sudjasa
T: +62 253 801731
E: lestarikanbadakjawa@yahoo.com

North America
Naomi Bata, Cohn & Wolfe
T: +1 312 596 3332
E: naomi.bata@cohnwolfe.com

Cohn & Wolfe
T: +44 7331 5246
E: app.ukteam@cohnwolfe.com

About Javan Rhino Conservation Working Group (CWG):

The Javan Rhino Working Group was set up in 2011, and is now 12 months into the program. The working group was officially established based on the Ujung Kulon National Park Decree dated 20th May 2011 SK. 28/IV-T.10/Peg/2011.

About APP:

Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) is a brand umbrella for paper products which are produced by several mills in Indonesia such as PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper Tbk, PT Pindo Deli Pulp & Paper Mills, PT Pabrik Kertas Tjiwi Kimia Tbk, PT Lontar Papyrus Pulp & Paper Industries, and PT Ekamas Fortuna. APP is headquartered in Indonesia and markets its product to more than 120 countries. Most of APP’s production facilities are Chain-of-Custody certified by LEI and PEFC. APP supports several main conservation initiatives, including a 178,000 hectare Biosphere Reserve in Giam Siak Kecil – Bukit Batu and an area of 106,000 hectare for the Senepis Tiger Sanctuary. Both are located in the province of Riau, Sumatera. Other APP wildlife preservation initiatives include the support of the Kutai Orangutan Program in Kalimantan and the conservation of the Javan Rhino in Ujung Kulon National Park.

About Ujung Kulon National Park:

Ujung Kulon, managed by the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, was Indonesia’s first proposed national park and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. The area contains one of the largest remaining lowland rainforests in Java and protects 57 rare species of plants and 35 mammal species. Among endangered and rare animals roaming the national park are leopard cats, gibbons, long-tailed macaques, leaf-monkeys, crocodiles, muntjaks, mousedeer and herds of grazing wild oxen. In the park’s surrounding seas are found the great clam, clown fish, angel fish, parrot fish, mudskippers which can climb trees and archer fish which spit water up a height of more than two meters to catch insects.

In March 2011 images from a hidden video trap were published showing adult and juvenile Javan Rhinos within the park, indicating recent mating and briefings. Within the last 10 years, 14 Javan Rhino births have been documented, including evidence of a female birth that would help promote continued expansion of the population.

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