Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Assamese Conservation NGO to Help Indonesia's Rhino Conservation

A Sumatran Rhinoceros

It has been recently reported that Aaranyak, an Assam-based biodiversity conservation NGO, will be assisting Indonesia in carrying out genetic research on its two critically endangered rhinos: the Sumatran and the Javan rhinoceros. The NGO will help authorities to develop "non-invasive" genetic research for the two rhino species that are on the brink of extinction. The head of Aaranyak's Wildlife Genetics Program, Udayan Borthakur, went down to Indonesia to prepare the line of activity required to undertake the research on rhinos and collaborated with officials affiliated with the rhino conservation. According to Mr. Borthakur, lab-based works will be undertaken at Jakarta's Eijkman Institute.
Javan Rhinos

As part of their non-invasive DNA-based research, the Wildlife Genetics Program and its Indonesian partners will estimate the rhinos' population size, male-female-calf ratio, and their density. They will also investigate the issue of genetic bottleneck and in-breeding of the two rhinos. Mr. Borthakur stated that the NGO will help the Eijkman Institute to set up needed markers for DNA-based analysis for the two rhino species from their dung and hair samples. He further added that Aaranyak's Wildlife Genetics Program had successfully prepared and tested markers for the Indian one-horned rhino based on India's "non-invasive research." Based on the experience, it is now called on to help Indonesia with its rhino conservation after a discussion with the International Rhino Foundation (IRF).
An Indian one-horned rhino; a close relative of the Javan rhino

I'm very proud to see what a partnership India has formed with Indonesia with respect to each others' endangered species. In this case, it is rhinos. Both the countries are home to these powerful beasts, and all three of them share one common characteristic: They are both threatened by poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. However, based on their status, the Sumatran and the Javan species are the ones who are critically endangered compared to their Indian cousin. But now, it now appears that there is hope for Indonesia's rhinos as Aaranyak will be helping Indonesian officials with their own rhino conservation. What is interesting is that the genetic research the NGO used is credited as "non-invasive." What is about this research that makes it non-invasive? Whatever it is, it helped in the conservation of the Indian rhino and is now going to be assist in the conservation of Indonesia's rhinos.

View article here


  1. due to the fact that no trapping or handling of animals is involved, makes such genetic reserach "noninvasive". Dung samples of rhino will be used, or have been used in the past to extract information on population size, through using the techniques of DNA fingerprinting.

  2. Thank you very much for the information.