About the SA Blog Network

Extinction Countdown

Extinction Countdown

News and research about endangered species from around the world
Extinction Countdown Home

Rare Javan rhino killed by poachers

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

Email   PrintPrint

Javan rhinoOne of the world’s last Javan rhinos (Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus) has been shot and killed by poachers in Vietnam, the World Wildlife Fund said Monday. The animal was shot and its horn, valued in traditional Asian medicine, was cut off.

No one knows exactly how many Javan rhinos remain in the world, but estimates for the population range from 40 to 60 animals, with possibly eight existing in Vietnam’s Cat Tien National Park. The critically endangered species is elusive, rarely photographed and almost never observed in the wild. None exist in captivity.

“This is devastating news for rhino conservation and Vietnam,” the WWF’s Dung Huynh Tien said in a prepared statement.

The WWF is now asking the Vietnam government to launch a criminal investigation into the rhino’s death. The species is legally protected in Vietnam, where punishments for killing endangered species can include fines or prison sentences.

Rhino poaching worldwide hit a 15-year high last year as demand for their horns has driven prices up ever higher.

Photo: Rare photo of a Javan rhino, courtesy of WWF.

Rights & Permissions

Comments 15 Comments

Add Comment
  1. 1. MCMalkemus 2:08 pm 05/10/2010

    Anyone who purchases Rhino horn in any form is responsible for this travesty.

    My guess is Chinese medicine users.

    Link to this
  2. 2. the Gaul 2:51 pm 05/10/2010

    Riiiight . . . Vietnam *might* spend its resources on the pressing issue of rhino protection. It might even *fine* somebody for the slaughter of the last of a species so an ignorant Chinese can copulate better. We all know there just aren’t enough Chinese in the world today. The ONLY chance for declining species is for WWF [and Greenpeace, and any other wildlife protection agency] to arm resistors, and shoot to kill any and all poachers.

    Link to this
  3. 3. coolmoss 4:24 pm 05/10/2010

    Was this one for the libido, the stomach, or the coffee table?

    Link to this
  4. 4. Elegia 5:22 pm 05/10/2010

    There appears to be an enormous market for Viagra in China & those countries that share the Chinese belief that rhino horn will increase virility. Let’s make sure that Pfizer gets into those markets SOON! Before any more rare animals have to die.

    Link to this
  5. 5. vincent0122 6:13 pm 05/10/2010


    Link to this
  6. 6. vincent0122 6:14 pm 05/10/2010


    Link to this
  7. 7. chorva 7:16 pm 05/10/2010

    I’m currently living in Vietnam. Sadly a lot of animals here are eaten to extinction or poached for their medicinal value. I’ve been to a lot of restaurants that serves, pangolin, civet cats, turtles, foxes etc. Any animal could be turned into a wine in a bottle. There is apparently a number you can call to report the that sells them but I doubt they do anything about it.

    Even the holy turtle of the famous Hoan Kiem lake is one the four last known living Rafetus Swinhoei specie around the world. Three of them is in China, one is in Vietnam in Hoan Kiem Lake. The lake it lives is under a poor condition. Yet, locals maybe are not aware that if this turtle die, part of their culture will die.

    Link to this
  8. 8. Mkumar 8:20 pm 05/10/2010

    There is no political will in South East Asian nations to enforce existing regulations in poaching . Stringent rules that carry a heavy fine or the death penalty might deterrent be long term solution .

    Link to this
  9. 9. Natedog 11:11 am 05/11/2010

    Personally I think the only hope we have is to store the genetic code of these animals and bring them back from extinction at some point in the future when it is techologically and socially feasible.

    Link to this
  10. 10. plyihcky247 12:56 pm 05/14/2010

    SAD….so SAD

    Link to this
  11. 11. sara2010 8:26 am 05/17/2010

    This is an extremely said story. It is not right that people have to kill innocent wildlife for money. They should have harsh punishments and fines if they do this harmful things to animals.

    Link to this
  12. 12. mmccullough10 8:28 am 05/18/2010

    Wow this is insane!! I don’t understand why people like this would do something to an innocent animal. There should be a law for poaching and give the dumb people that do this something to think about. But, then again they could go and do it again. So we should try and help the animals that are on the road to extinction due to poaching.

    Link to this
  13. 13. mmccullough10 8:33 am 05/18/2010

    Wow this is insane!!! I don’t understand why people would do this to an innocent animal. I think that there should be a law for the dumb people who think poaching animals that cause no harm to them! So we should try and help.

    Link to this
  14. 14. Neptunerover 12:21 am 05/19/2010

    Traditional Asian Medicine. Yeah, right.

    There should be a reward worth more than 10 rhino horns put on the heads of those poachers. See how they like being threatened with extinction.

    Link to this
  15. 15. sara2010 8:08 am 05/20/2010

    I agree completely. I think this is a horrible issue. Innocent animals are being killed or harmed for stupid reasons.

    Link to this

Add a Comment
You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

More from Scientific American

Email this Article