Written by Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, IRF Asian Rhino Program Coordinator
To read Part I, please click here.
On May 5th, we got up early and went to a nearby body of water, about 30 minutes walking distance from the Cikeusik temporary camp. This water body is used by the Javan rhino and other wild animals and is actually a small rivulet or channel coming from UKNP and touching the southern sea of UKNP. We saw some fresh Javan rhino foot prints along the rivulet. We waited there for about 2 hours with the RPUs and Pak Waladi hoping to see a Javan rhino, but we were not lucky that morning. We did also visit a few nearby areas that are frequented by Javan rhinos, but did not see any.
We came back to our temporary camp in Cikeusik to have lunch and take a rest around 11 AM. Then again around 3.30 PM we hiked into the forest. However, the forest is very thick and the terrain is not conducive to walking. But, despite these challenges, we were able to visit a few areas to look for rhinos. We waited near the rivulet, taking cover in the forest until dark. This area is one of the sites where Steven Belcher saw and photographed Javan rhino. However, we were not lucky enough to see any. But, the habitat in the area made me convinced why more javan rhinos are being recorded by RPUs in this part of UKNP during their regular field trips. It’s really great rhino habitat! We returned to our camp in Cikeusik around 7 PM and took little rest before having dinner and going to sleep.
Bibhab serves as IRF’s Asian Rhino Program Coordinator, overseeing our work in Indonesia and India. He is Chair of the IUCN SSC Asian Rhino Specialist Group, and Secretary General of the Indian NGO Aaranyak. He has been involved in rhino research and conservation in Asia since 1996.