|One of Vietnam's last two remaining Javan rhinos captured on film in Cat Tien National Park|
It has been recently reported by a conservation group that Vietnam has just lost its last wild Javan rhinoceros. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) stated that there have been no sightings of this rare and critically endangered rhino species in the nation's Cat Tien National Park. There has also been no evidence of its existence from footprints or dung since the last known animal was found dead last April. In 2004, genetic analyses of rhino dung indicated that there were at least two animals in the park. This, in turn, raised hopes that Vietnam's Javan rhinoceros population might survive. However, such great expectations were not met. In addition to that, only forty to sixty of these rhinos remain in Indonesia's Ujong Kulon National Park. Christy Williams, coordinator of WWF's Asian Elephant and Rhino Program, the Vietnamese government has not given wildlife protection a top priority. According to the park's director, Tran Van Thanh, it is difficult for the staff to halt an estimated 100,000 people living on the park's fringes from hunting wild animals.
|The skeleton of Vietnam's last official Javan rhinoceros|
I'm deeply saddened by this loss Vietnam has suffered since last year. But at the same time, I'm absolutely disgusted by the fact that the nation's government has not seriously taken the threat of poaching and the illegal wildlife trade seriously. Vietnam and its neighbors had once suffered drastically during the Vietnam War, which not only took heavy tolls on the people but wildlife as well. After the war ceased, a new threat of terror started brewing on Vietnam's soil: poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. Despite the efforts in slowing down this ongoing threat, such illicit activities continued to devastate the flora and fauna of Vietnam. And it all came down to this horrific yet tragic news. Although Vietnam has lost its last rhino, the remaining are on the island of Java in Indonesia. But there, the numbers are critically low and not far from the brink of extinction. I personally believe that this loss should be taken as a wake-up call for Vietnam to boost up its efforts such that the government should do its part in the battle against wildlife trafficking. At the same time, Indonesia should do its part in tightening its laws and help establish breeding programs to revive its rhino population. With the establishment of breeding programs, rhinos would be reintroduced to Vietnam to help bring the species back from extinction. In addition to that, the people living near Cat Tien National Park are in a desperate need of help and as part of relief efforts, they should be convinced to refrain from hunting and educated about the ecological importance of the forests around them. As of now, the clock is ticking before the Javan rhinoceros is completely disappeared from the face of the earth.
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