By Rachel Becker
A young rhino scuttles out of the underbrush, its outsize ears swiveling. Not far behind, its mother follows, watching cautiously.
This isn’t just any baby, though. It’s one of three new Javan rhinoceros calves caught by camera traps in Indonesia’s Ujung Kulon National Park, the last refuge of this critically endangered subspecies.
There are now 60 Javan rhinoceroses left on Earth—a tiny population that’s gradually doubled in the last 50 years.
Years of poaching and habitat destruction led to the demise of many Javan rhinos, and the remaining animals are now clustered in the national park.
But the footage of the new calves is a cause for hope, says Barney Long, director of species conservation for WWF, which maintains the camera traps with park authorities, the Rhino Foundation of Indonesia, and the International Rhino Foundation.
That’s because “it is evidence that Javan rhinos are reproducing in the wild,” says Long—especially important since there are none in captivity.
“I think the key thing to remember is that rhinos are recovering,” Long says. “The videos demonstrate that with the right conservation measures, you get more babies.”
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