12 December 2007
Video of wild Sumatran rhino captured by hand-held video camera
SOS Rhino Borneo’s Rhino Protection Units (RPU) recently sighted a female rhino lying in a mud wallow, and recorded her behavior by hand-held video camera. The team followed the rhino for several hours inside the thickest part of its last remaining rainforest habitat in Borneo.
During the 4th Sumatran Rhinoceros Conservation Workshop held in July 2007, rhino experts made suggestions for better data-gathering techniques in the field. SOS Rhino Borneo quickly adopted the suggestions and deployed survey teams. The video was captured during one of those surveys.
Dr. Thayaparan, SOS Rhino’s Program Officer, joined the team in its endeavor to come face to face with the animal, and had this to say: “When I was informed by our RPU members that they sighted a rhino in the jungle, I joined them on one of the surveys with hopes of capturing the rhino on video -- with success!”
Associate Professor Dr. Abdul Hamid, Deputy Director of the Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Universiti Malaysia Sabah is a local rhino expert who contributed a great deal at July’s Sumatran rhino workshop. “I am very pleased that SOS Rhino adopted the suggestion of improved survey techniques. The new techniques are working very well and have produced much better results than in previous surveys”, said Dr. Hamid.
Dr. Thaya believes that the video is a reason to celebrate, and this is the time to start looking at rhino conservation efforts from a different angle.
In addition to an accumulation of 22.5 minutes of raw video footage captured on two different occasions, the team sighted a different adult rhino. AND footprints of around 17 cm indicating a much smaller rhino – for a total of 3 individuals in an area of approximately 20 square kilometers in size.
“This is very good news. We can be sure now that natural breeding is taking place in our forests. We should have high hopes for the Borneon rhino”, said Dr. Thaya
In less than five months SOS Rhino Borneo RPUs have collected 14 samples of fresh dung and three groups of hair samples for DNA analysis. The teams also positively identified the sex of two of the adult animals. Although the younger rhino was not observed moving together with the adult female, evidence shows that it was using the same trails and wallows.
SOS RHINO is a US-based non-profit foundation dedicated to preserving the five rhinoceros species in their natural habitat by combining research, education, marketing, and advocacy – all working together to achieve sustainable results. SOS Rhino has focused its conservation efforts on the critically endangered Sumatran rhino of Borneo since 2000, and have built a successful project in Sabah.
SOS RHINO BORNEO was created in 2003 as a locally registered non-profit organization and currently employs 20 field staff divided into four rhino protection units (RPUs). The RPUs patrol and survey rhino habitat searching for the elusive creature, and reach out to local communities to raise awareness on the plight of the Sumatran rhino. SOS Rhino Borneo collaborates with the Sabah Wildlife Department, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, WWF-Malaysia, and other local governmental and non-governmental agencies in the conservation of the Sumatran rhino of Borneo.
- End -
For more information please contact Julia Blundell at +603 7880 5593 mobile +6012 2997705 or email firstname.lastname@example.org You may also visit SOS Rhino’s website at www.sosrhino.org