Dyaning Pangestika, The Jakarta Post | July 1, 2020
A male Javan rhinoceros was caught enjoying a mud bath by a hidden camera installed in the Cegenteur block of the Ujung Kulon National Park in Pandeglang, Banten.
A short video showing the rhino in a puddle near a waterfall in the national park was shared by Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar on her Twitter account with the handle @SitiNurbayaLHK.
Siti wrote that the rhinoceros had been identified as a 7-year-old male.
“He was found rolling inside a mud puddle and enjoying his mud bath,” the minister tweeted.
Rhinoceros take mud baths to protect their skin from sunburn, insect bites and other parasites as well as to maintain their skin’s moisture. Mud baths also help rhinoceros cool down and fulfill their mineral needs.
Rhinoceros could take mud baths twice a day, with each session taking up to three hours, Siti added.
The minister went on to say that the Javan rhinoceros was the most endangered rhino species in Indonesia, with “only 72 individuals left in the wild as of 2019, comprising of 39 males and 33 females.”
Authorities have taken several measures to protect the animal, such as routine monitoring patrols to secure the national park area from hunters.
Listed as “critically endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) red list, the Javan rhinoceros is found only in the Ujung Kulon National Park. Forest rangers have been guarding the national park to prevent poachers from killing rhinos and removing their horns, which can fetch huge sums of money on the black market.