New Javan rhino calves raise hopes for endangered species in Indonesia

Three rhino calves have been spotted in the past few month at a national park on the Indonesian island of Java, officials say

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The Independent Online

Three critically endangered Javan rhinoceros calves have been spotted in an Indonesian national park, bringing the total number of what is the world's rarest rhino up to 60.

Officials said two male calves and one female had been filmed at Ujung Kulon national park on the Indonesian island of Java between April and July.

In previous years only individual calves have been spotted, so recording three calves within the space of a few months offers some hope for the animal's future.

"This is wonderful news," Widodo Ramono, the head of conservation group the Indonesian Rhino Foundation, was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.

"Now we just need to ensure their protection."

The Javan rhinoceros used to number in the thousands across South East Asia, but there are now only scores left and all are thought to be in the newly established Ujung Kulon park.

The recent sighting raises the number of Javan rhinos known to exist from 57 to 60.

It had been as low as 35 in 2011, AFP reported.

The Javan rhinoceros, or Rhinoceros sondaicus, is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The main reason behind its dwindelling numbers is hunting to satisfy the demand for rhino horn and related products which are used in Chinese medicines, according to the IUCN.