The Jakarta Post
A Javan rhino is seen in its habitat at the Ujung Kulon National Park. (Javan Rhino Expedition/David Herman Jaya)
The Javan rhinoceros is the most endangered rhino species in Indonesia.
Compared to the Sumatran rhinoceros, which is spread across several provinces of Sumatra and Kalimantan, the Javan rhinoceros only inhabits the Ujung Kulon National Park in Banten. Its subspecies in Vietnam was officially extinct in 2010.
According to this year’s data from the national park, the population of the single-horned rhinoceros is down to 74 individuals. They face several threats, including natural disasters, decreasing food sources, diseases and low genetic quality.
From Sept. 22 to Oct. 6, 2019, an expedition was held by conservationists to spread awareness and knowledge about the Javan rhinoceroses at the national park. Dubbed Javan Rhino Expedition, it aims to share information about the current state of the rhinoceroses and the people in the surrounding villages.
Initiated by creative company PT Storia Suksesindo Projekta, Javan Rhino Expedition documents the process of finding the Javan rhinoceroses in their last habitat and provides inspiring perspectives on conservation in written pieces, photos and documentaries. These can be used in campaigns for conservation efforts.
'Javan Rhino Expedition' uses two methods to document Javan rhinoceros, one of them was by building 'ranggon' (tree house). (Javan Rhino Expedition/Hafizh Zainur Ridha )
The expedition involved the filmmakers’ team, staff from the national park and local residents. To document the species, the expeditioners built ranggon (tree houses) and rowed along a river on rubber boats. They also visited villages near the national park from Oct. 27 to Nov. 1, 2019, to document the locals’ views about conservation.
Javan Rhino Expedition coordinator David Herman Jaya said they had encountered some challenges in concluding a story and informing the public about their intention. “It’s more than just visually recording [the activity]; we also discussed with local experts what could be done to further develop conservation,” said David in a statement.
Ujung Kulon National Park head Anggodo said a special permit was needed to observe the Javan rhinoceros to avoid any misconduct that could disturb the animals. He expressed support for the expedition, hoping that it would increase public awareness about rhinoceros conservation.
The expedition is documented in a photography journal titled Surviving in Silence, released on Tuesday to commemorate World Rhino Day that falls on Sept. 22.
A photo exhibition initially planned to display the expedition results was postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The journal is available for pre-order on Instagram. (wir/wng)
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