Foreign Aid for Critically Endangered Indonesian Rhinos? No Need, Forestry Minister Says
Fidelis E. Satriastanti
Indonesia doesn’t need foreign aid to conserve its critically endangered Sumatran and Javan rhinos because it can still manage on its own, says Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan.
“We can still manage to take care of the funding, so there’s no need to ask from the international [community],” Zulkifli said on Monday.
“If there is [money], it’s better to focus [it] on other rhinos.”
The minister was speaking during the declaration of the 2012 International Rhinoceros Year, when asked about Indonesia’s commitment to protecting its rhinos, which it signed with ten other countries.
Zulkifli said Indonesia was chosen for the declaration of the awareness campaign because it still had two different rhino species: the two-horned Sumatran rhino and the single-horned Javan rhinoceros, both of which are on the verge of extinction.
He said that Indonesia was also selected because it had a history of success in breeding Sumatran rhinos.
“The declaration is meant to campaign about the importance of the rhino to the public. Tigers and orangutans have already attracted a lot of attention, but there’s not enough attention for rhinos,” Zulkifli said.
Darori, Forestry Ministry’s director general for forest and nature conservation, said the ministry had allocated Rp 300 billion out of its total budget of Rp 1.6 trillion for conservation purposes.
“There are also [funds] from the private sector. For rhinos, these funds have so far come only from APP [Asia Pulp and Paper], which [gave] Rp 6 billion in 2011,” he said.
There are currently five rhino species in the world: the Sumatran and Javan, the Indian rhino in Nepal, India and Bhutan; and the white and black rhinos in southern and central Africa.
Ujung Kulon National Park in Banten is the only remaining habitat of the Javan rhino, and hosts a population of around 35 individuals. A small population of the species in Vietnam’s Cat Tien National Park was declared extinct last year by the International Union for Conservation Nature.
Around 200 Sumatran rhinos remain in the wild, in the Way Kambas National Park in Lampung and the Leuser National Park in Aceh.
The two Indonesian subspecies are listed by the IUCN as critically endangered, just one step above being extinct.