| GEO Amazing and Interesting|
| Second rare Javan rhino found dead in Indonesia|
| Updated at: 1354 PST, Tuesday, June 15, 2010|
JAKARTA: A second Javan rhino has died in Indonesia, conservationists said Tuesday, underscoring the need to expand the critically endangered mammals' last refuge in Ujung Kulon National Park.
With fewer than 50 Javan rhinos remaining, the deaths of two males in recent months has brought the world's scarcest mammal closer than ever to extinction, experts said.
"We have 40 to 50 rhinos here now. If two die, that's four percent of the population," Indonesian Rhino Foundation head Widodo Ramono said.
A carcass was found Monday in a river in Ujung Kulon, West Java province. Like another male that was found dead earlier in May, Ramono said the animal could have drowned in a wallow during heavy rain.
"There were no signs it had been killed by poachers as its horn was intact. It might have died of old age or illness," he said.
"We're still investigating the cause of death and checking if there are other carcasses in the area."
The Javan rhino is distinguished from African rhinos by its small size, single horn and loose skin folds.
Around 44 Javan rhinos are believed to live in Ujung Kulon, a rare patch of wilderness on one of the world's most densely populated islands.
Another four or so are found in Vietnam's Cat Loc reserve, where poachers killed a rhino last month.
Ramono said the latest death highlighted the need to expand and improve the rhino sanctuary at Ujung Kulon, which is constantly encroached upon by human activity.
There are plans to expand the habitat with the addition of another 4,000 hectares (990 acres) of jungle.
"We hope it will be ready next year," he said.
Asian rhinos have been driven to the brink of extinction because their horns are highly valued in traditional Chinese and Korean medicine, although most countries in the region have banned the trade.