Rare Sumatran Rhino Dies Days After Being Found


A few weeks back I shared a story that had conservationist feeling optimistic about the potential future for a rare species of rhino. Now, a short time later, that story has turned tragic, as it was revealed that the rhino has now died in captivity.

Back in March, it was revealed that a rare, and highly endangered, species of rhino was discovered in the wilds of Sumatra. Those creatures were believed to be totally extinct, as none have been spotted there in more than 40 years. In order to protect the animal, she was captured in a pit trap and taken to a sanctuary where it was believed that she would be well protected from poachers.

But over the past few days, the rhino – who was named Najaq – saw a down turn in her health as she struggled to fight off an infection. On Tuesday, it was announced that she lost the fight, and passed away due to complications from the infection. There is a pending investigation to learn more about the situation, but it is believed that Najaq suffered an injury from a snare set by poachers prior to her being discovered. Wounds from that injury grew infected, leading to the death of the rhino.

This is obviously sad news. A few weeks ago the discovery of this creature brought hope that perhaps the species could be brought back from the brink of extinction, but this is a setback that makes those efforts even more difficult. Najaq does give us hope however that there are rhinos still out there in the wilds of Sumatra just waiting to be discovered. Hopefully conservationists find them before the poachers do.

Kraig Becker