Seeking the Elusive Badak Jawa: Follow the Mud and Dung

The International Rhino Foundation Blog

Some rhino signs are subtle, others are striking.  For example, I can’t describe the faint odor of rhino urine very well, but I can recognize it now, having gotten several whiffs in the field.  Though invisible to the human eye, it verifies the animal’s presence.  The trail of a rhino through the brush, by contrast, can be as unmistakable as the physical evidence left by someone who just drove a Jeep through your living room.  A single rhino can carve a wide tunnel through the vegetation or bring down a small tree just to reach a tempting mouthful of leaves in the upper branches.

Rhino trails are not random pathways through the forest.  They connect locations, such as streams, salt licks and wallows that have behavioral and ecological significance.  Rhinos need to drink, they require trace minerals in their diet, and they routinely spend time coating themselves with mud to…

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Rhinos Under the Radar: Introducing Andatu!

The International Rhino Foundation Blog

Earlier this month, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono officially declared 2012 the International Year of the Rhino.  And, while there is no official Father’s Day in Indonesia, Andalas the Sumatran rhino would probably choose June 23rd.  That’s the day his mate, Ratu, delivered their first calf and the first rhinoceros ever born in captivity in that country.

His name is Andatu and he entered the world under the light of the moon, which is not uncommon for rhinos and other wild creatures.  The name Andatu is a combination of both parents’ names.  Andalas is an Indonesian word denoting the island of Sumatra, while Ratu means Queen.  The baby’s name, which rolls so nicely off the tongue, is also a shortening of the Indonesian term “Anugerah Dari Tuhan” and quite fittingly translates as a “Gift from God”.

About sixty pounds soaking wet – which he was – the young rhino displayed…

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