NEWS
25/10/2011 08:30 BST | Updated 25/12/2011 05:12 GMT

Javan Rhino Becomes Extinct In Vietnam, Wildlife Charity Warns

The Javan rhinoceros is perilously close to extinction a wildlife charity has warned after a dead rhino was confirmed to be the last in Vietnam.

The rhino was found dead in Cat Tien National Park last year. Researchers who collected dung in the park from 2009 to 2010 confirmed it all belonged to the same dead rhino.

According to the WWF, the animal had a bullet in its leg and its horn had been removed, raising concerns it had been poached.

Tran Thi Minh Hien, the WWF-Vietnam Country Director, commented that it was "painful" that significant investment in Vietnamese rhino conservation had failed to save them.

A report by the WWF on Tuesday said that despite the park's efforts, ineffective protection of the species was ultimately the cause for extinction.

Illegal hunting to supply the wildlife trade has reduced many species in Vietnam to isolated pockets. On the verge of extinction also in Vietnam are the Indochinese tiger, the Asian elephant, the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey and the Siamese crocodile.

There is now only one known Javan rhino population left, which has fewer than 50 rhinos, in a small national park in Indonesia.

These rhinos are also under threat as the demand for rhino horn for the Asian traditional medicine trade is increasing every year. Susie Ellis of the International Rhino Foundation said that "We must ensure that what happened to the Javan rhinoceros in Vietnam is not repeated in Indonesia".