Towards the end of November 2011, one of the Rhino Protection Units (RPUs) in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (BBSNP) found the track of a young rhino (estimated age 1-1.5 years old) and its mother in the west corner of Bukit Barisan Selatan NP. It was a big surprise for the RPU in BBSNP because the last young rhino found in BBSNP was more than two years ago. It is a sign that the population of rhinos in BBSNP still has hope.
As usual, after packing and checking all our stuff and logistics, we left for the field. Our destination was West Lampung. One of our RPU vehicles dropped us off at the location near the forest where we would enter. Full of energy, we started walking, monitoring, and collecting all the data that we needed. On this trip one of our tasks was to collect dung for genetic research as a new program of YABI and IRF.
After three days of patrolling with wet and muddy conditions because it was the start of the rainy season and we also had to cross a big river, we came upon a foot print of a young rhino and its mother beside a small river.
At first we were not sure that it was the foot print of a young rhino because we had never found one since the BBSNP RPU was established in 1998. Although we weren’t sure, we tried to follow the track slowly.
It was quite difficult for us to follow the track during wet season because the tracks disappear quickly, but we tried to continue to find the foot print. We could tell that the ones we saw by the river were fresh. Our estimation was that the tracks weren’t more than one or two days old. Finally, we found fresh dung and also a fresh wallow of a rhino. We were sure the mother and her baby had been there according to the foot print and dung. It was a great surprise for us. In two years in BBSNP we had not found the foot print of a young rhino, but that day we found it!!!
It is a gift for us. A gift in the end of 2011. This evidence makes us very happy and gives more spirit to the RPU BBSNP. Hopefully there are many more baby rhinos in BBSNP.