Thursday, May 29, 2008

Rarest rhinoceros wrecks camera

The world's rarest rhinoceros has been captured on film by a specially installed camera in the jungles of Java, Indonesia.

But the female rhino, which was accompanied by a calf, promptly charged the camera, sending it flying.

The animals are at severe risk of extinction, with only 60-70 animals left in the wild.

A spokesperson for WWF said the footage provided an unusual glimpse of the rare beasts in their natural habitat.

Rachmat Hariyadi, who leads WWF-Indonesia's project in Java's Ujung Kulon National Park, said the motion-triggered camera "traps" were a useful way to observe the ways in which animals used their habitats, aiding conservation efforts.

But Stephen Hogg, also from WWF, who designed the hidden cameras, said he was puzzled by the rhino's attack.

"The assault on the camera still has us baffled because we specifically use infrared lights as the source of illumination when we designed and built these units so as to not scare animals away when the camera activates," he said.

Javan rhinos are found only in two locations; Ujung Kulong National Park is home to 90% of the total population.

Efforts are underway to create additional Javan rhino breeding groups by translocating a few individuals from Ujung Kulon to another suitable site.

This could help prevent an extinction caused by disease or a natural disaster, conservationists say. Go here for footage....