Adorable Javan Rhino Calf Caught on Camera, One of About 80 Still Alive

A Javan rhinoceros wanders through a dense tropical forest, partially obscured by thick foliage and a foreground tree trunk, evoking a serene, natural atmosphere.
The video below shows the new baby Javan rhinoceros, but the footage isn’t conducive to a high-quality still frame. This image is from a 2021 handout, when a different calf was seen on camera. | Credit: Ujung Kulon National Park, Java, Indonesia

Camera traps are instrumental for wildlife biologists and conservationists to monitor the health of animal populations. In some cases, camera traps even spot species that are seldom seen by people. In Java, Indonesia, a camera trap spied an adult Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus) and her newborn calf — a remarkably rare sighting of the critically endangered species.

The photo was captured in Ujung Kulon National Park on Java Island by one of the park’s 126 camera traps. The footage below, spotted on Facebook by DIY Photography, was captured late in the morning of March 4, 2024, and first shared about a month later.

“Praise God, this is good news and proves that Javan rhinos, which only exist in Ujung Kulon, can breed properly,” Satyawan Pudyatmoko, a senior environment ministry official, said in a statement.

Per, experts believe that only 82 wild rhinos are living in the 120,000-hectare park. Other estimates put the number lower, somewhere in the 70s. As Pudyatmoko said, Ujung Kulon is the only place on Earth where wild Javan rhinos live.

The Javan rhino once numbered in the thousands and had a range throughout southeast Asia, including beyond the islands of Indonesia. However, due primarily to poaching, the species has been thoroughly decimated and is among the rarest living animals on Earth.

An adult sumatran rhinoceros and a calf are captured close-up by a camera trap in a dense jungle, highlighting the rich biodiversity and the need for conservation.
There was also a calf caught on camera in the park in 2020.

Unlike some other critically endangered species, the Javan rhino has thus far not been kept successfully in captivity, limiting the possibility of a controlled breeding program. The Javan rhinoceros population in Vietnam’s Cat Tien National Park was declared extinct in 2011, rendering Ujung Kulon the last bastion of the great ungulate.

A person in hiking gear walking through a lush, sunlit tropical forest with dense green foliage and a rocky, moss-covered ground.
A photo from Ujung Kulon National Park captured in 2002 by Wikipedia user Ravn. This image is licensed via CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Thanks to improving camera technology, experts in Java can safely keep an eye on the rhinos and their habitat, ensuring that the animals can live with as little human interference as possible.

As always, biologists are excited to see a new baby. However, there is ongoing concern that the Javan rhino population is so small that it will reach a genetic bottleneck due to inbreeding. This new calf looks healthy and will hopefully stay that way.

Best of luck, little rhino.