Some 15 sea turtles were rescued in the tsunami-hit Sunda Strait. The Ujung Kulon National Park has fewer than 70 rhinos and is not far from the Anak Krakatau volcano. The authorities are scrambling to find a new habitat.
Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Indonesia's latest tsunami has raised fears that another deadly wave could wipe out the few dozen Javan rhinos (picture 1) still living in the wild, conservation officials said.
But the rhinos are not the only in danger. Rescue teams saved 15 sea turtles, another endangered species, from the devastated shores of the Sunda Strait.
The Ujung Kulon National Park, on the western tip of the island of Java, is home to fewer than 70 rhinos, and is not far from the Anak Krakatau volcano.
The authorities report that no animal was killed in the disaster, which left more than 425 people dead last Sunday, but officials warned that another tsunami could strike again hard-hit Banten and Lampung provinces, respectively on Java and Sumatra (Sumatera) islands.
"It's become our duty to work harder to find a second habitat because the danger is real," national park chief Mamat Rahmat said.
Widodo Ramono, head of the Rhino Conservation Foundation of Indonesia, added: "If you've only got one habitat and there's another tsunami, the rhinos could be wiped out completely."
Plans to find a second home for the species have been in the works for about eight years, with conservationists surveying areas all over Java and neighbouring Sumatra but so far without success.
The size of the habitat, climate, food and water sources and safety from poachers are among the key criteria.
The shy creature, whose folds of loose skin give it the appearance of wearing armour plating, once numbered in the thousands and roamed across Southeast Asia, and could be found as far as India and China.