By Amelia Meyer
The Javan Rhino’s scientific name is Rhinoceros sondaicus, which is why it is also known by the more formal name of Sunda Rhino. It is closely related to the Indian Rhino.
itehough it is currently on the Critically Endangered list of animals, the Javan Rhinoceros was once the most prolific of all rhino species in the world.
In fact, there are no Javan Rhinos known to be existing in the wild, and only a few dozen (approximately 40) living in Ujung Kulon National Park on the western extremity of the island of Java, Indonesia.
There are three subspecies of Javan Rhino:
•The Indonesian Javan Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus sondaicus) the only Javan subspecies that is still in existence
•The Vietnamese Javan Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus) extinct since 2010, when the last specimen was killed by a poacher.
•The Indian Javan Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus inermis) this subspecies is believed to have been extinct since as early as 1925.
The Javan Rhino, like its Indian relative, is characterised by the distinctive plates on its body. These firm plates of thick hide are divided by folds of very soft skin, which allow the plates and body to move with flexibility. It is smaller in size than the Indian Rhino.
The ideal natural habitat of the Javan Rhino comprised rain forests that lay in the lowlands, as well as moist grasslands and floodplains. A solitary animal, the Javan Rhino would traverse these landscapes in peaceful independence. This is one of the reasons for which this species has, historically, been difficult to study and track, since it avoids human contact completely. As a result, it has had the least amount of study dedicated to it.
The Javan Rhinoceros has only one horn, like the Indian Rhino. All other species of rhinoceros have two horns. This horn is made of keratin and is not attached to the skull structure.
This means that it can be trimmed without hurting the rhinoceros, which is sometimes necessary to protect the animals from potential poachers. It uses this horn for moving trees and bushes and for digging in mud, rather than for fighting.
The Javan Rhinoceros has an average life expectancy of 35 to 40 years in the wild. However, they do not do well in captivity, and usually only live to about 20 years of age when in a park or reserve. The male of the species requires a personal territory of between 12 and 20 square kilometres, while females need considerably less (usually between about three and 14 square kilometres). Territory is marked using faces and urine.
Interestingly, the Javan Rhinoceros is not very vocal in comparison to other species of rhino.
It is believed that the Javan Rhinoceros gives birth to one calf once every one to three years.