30 Apr 2020
According to Population and Viability Analysis (PVA) in 2015, there were 4 pocket-habitats for Sumatran Rhino in Leuser that most of them were not viable. In 2017, Forum Konservasi Leuser (FKL) with the support of the TFCA-Sumatera program held an occupancy survey to monitor the recent data on Sumatran Rhino habitat condition and population in those 4 pocket-habitats.
The results became the points to decide the most suitable actions for saving the rhino population in each pocket-habitat. If there is no action in those unviable areas, the population of Sumatran Rhino will be extinct even without poaching. The population with small number of rhino will be a problem because of the reproduction problem, low genetic variation, and the imbalance of sex-ratio.
On the Sumatran Rhino Emergency Action Plan (2018-2021), there are steps that should be done on each pocket-habitat. For the Leuser ecosystem, the steps are:
1) Intensive population monitoring and protection in Sumatran Rhino natural habitat in the west part of Leuser.
2) Rescue and population consolidation to Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS)
3) Developing assisted reproductive technology for the east part of Leuser.
Connecting the small populations to the ideal place with high protection such as SRS/breeding center is one of the steps for rhino conservation. There were some proposed locations as translocation and reunification areas in Leuser Ecosystem. The problem is, if the population number less than 15 individuals, within no time, the reunification population will become extinct in the cause of in-breeding, age, sex-ration, and any other factors.
To increase the population protection and its natural habitat in the West Leuser, intensive management is needed. There should be a policy about area protection which includes activities such as patrol, population monitoring, law enforcement, and raising awareness for the people around the area.
It is not only about Sumatran Rhino protection in Leuser, but this project will also protect 600.000 ha of the Leuser rainforest which also the important habitat of Sumatran Tiger, Elephant, and Orangutan. Improving the quantity and quality of the patrol team will be done in the priority area.
This project will support the government’s program to conserve endangered species and increasing their population to 10% in the next 5 years. Without the brave and radical efforts, the population of Sumatran Rhino in Leuser will be extinct by no time