The species, which was found in abundance in South-east Asian countries at one point of time, is now restricted to two areas - the Ujung Kulon National Park on Java island in Indonesia and the Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam.
Wildlife enthusiasts are hopeful that this animal will make a comeback if proper conservation measure are implemented. They also stress on the fact that people need to be made aware of the importance of this animal for the ecosystem, and that's something which we intend to do by putting forth these facts about this species.
Facts about the Javan Rhino
Three different sup-species of the Javan rhino have been identified:
- Indonesian Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus sondaicus)
- Vietnamese Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus)
- Indian Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus inermis)
Of the three, the Indian Javan rhino is believed to have become extinct way back in the beginning of the 20th century. As you move on with this write-up, you will come across several other facts about this species - particularly about its appearance, habitat, diet, etc.
With its overall length ranging between 10-10.5 feet and a height of 4.6-5.8 ft, the Javan rhino is smaller than the Indian rhino with whom it used to share its natural habitat. However, it does sport a mosaicked splotchy gray or gray-brown skin resembling an armor which is a typical characteristic trait of the Indian species.
On an average, the Javan rhinoceros can weigh anywhere between 2,000 and 5,000 lb. Yet another characteristic trait which this species shares with the Indian rhino is the characteristic single horn, which is in stark contrast of the other three of the five extant species which sport two horns.
As we know, the last few individuals left in the world are restricted to the Ujung Kulon National Park (Indonesia) and the Cat Tien National Park (Vietnam). There are no Javan rhinos in captivity. The species prefers dense lowland rain forests wherein wet areas which protect them from harsh heat exist in plenty.
The geographical range of the Javan rhinoceros has shrunk by many folds, predominantly because of habitat loss which can be attributed to human encroachment.
Though the low lying areas are first preference, some individuals of this species are also found in relatively higher areas in Vietnam wherein human encroachment in their natural habitat has pushed them out of the low lying areas.
Being one of the largest herbivorous mammal on the planet, the Javan rhinoceros is known to feed on a wide variety of plants found in its natural habitat. Being a voracious feeder, the Javan rhino can eat more than 100 lbs of food in a single day.
As in case of the Sumatran rhino, which happens to be the other rhino species found in Indonesia, even the Javan species requires salt in its daily diet - as it derives certain essential nutrients from the same, and often resort to sea water to fulfill this requirement.
Javan Rhinoceros Facts for Kids
Contrary to the popular belief, Javan rhinos are not really as bad tempered as they are portrayed to be, but they don't like surprises either, and therefore, they can take on anything extraordinary that crosses their path including humans.
Here are more of such simple rhinoceros facts:
- The horn of a Javan rhino - with an average length of 7.9 inches, is the smallest among all the rhinoceros species in the world.
- In terms of size, this rhino is as big as the Black rhino native to the continent of Africa. However, the two differ in terms of appearance to a great extent.
- Even though the Javan rhinos are known to lead a solitary life, this rule is an exception when it comes to breeding pairs and mother-calf pair.
- The gestation period in this species is 16 months, after which a calf is born which continues to stay with its mother for a period of 2 years.
- While the Javan rhino males have a territory of 8-12 sq mi, the same in females is a lot smaller at 2-4 sq mi.
- The male members of this species mark their territories by leaving dung piles, spraying urine, leaving twisted saplings or scraping the ground.
- While this species is herbivorous in nature, it doesn't hesitate to take on other animals or humans when threatened.
- On an average, the lifespan of a Javan rhinoceros lies between 30-45 years. However, large-scale poaching has been one factor which has brought it down by a great extent.
- An adult Javan rhino has no predators except for humans who kill them for their horn which has a great demand in the international market.
- The Javan rhino was added to the IUCN Red List as a Critically Endangered species in 2007.
Though the authorities state that there exist somewhere around 100 Javan rhinos in the wild, wildlife enthusiasts argue that this is just an estimated number and the actual number lies somewhere between 40-60.
Large-scale poaching of this species for its horn - which is in huge demand for its alleged healing properties, has resulted in a significant decrease in their numbers in the wild. Adding to the woes is habitat loss triggered by human encroachment.
Even though quite a few conservation measures to save the Javan rhinoceros species have been introduced in the last few years, the fact that there are only a few individuals remaining in the wild doesn't put forth an amazing future for them as such.