Ujung Kulon National Park
Rhino Conservation through disease surveillance and community engagement
The final home of the Javan rhinoceros lies in a single location (Ujung Kulon National Park) surrounded by agriculture-dominated landscape on one of the most densely populated islands on the planet.
There are an estimated 68 individuals remaining. As the population of Java expands, local farming of water buffalo increasingly encroaches on the last habitat of the rhino. These water buffalo pose a significant threat to the health of the Javan rhinoceros via transmission of infectious disease, notably trypanosomiasis (Trypanosoma evansi), anthrax (Bacillus anthracis), and hemorrhagic septicemia (Pasteurella multocida B:2).
Our project aims to investigate these threats via infectious disease surveillance and health monitoring of water buffalo. In addition, the project aims to educate children in the buffer villages of UKNP to spread conservation education to some of the areas of highest human density that are closest to the current Javan rhinoceros range.
Our project also aims to investigate the threats that domestic water buffalo pose to the Javan rhinos via infectious disease surveillance and health monitoring of water buffalo.
The information gathered from these investigations will support conservation education for children in buffering villages, where the effects of increasing human population are greatest on the remaining Javan rhinoceros individuals. Information about Javan rhinos, including that gathered from the tabanid flies investigation and water buffalo surveillance, will be given through presentations, games, storytelling, and outdoor practicum to make Javan rhinoceros conservation understandable for children.
People at these younger ages are much more impressionable and more likely to develop values and attitudes that promote positive environmental behavior, so education outreach can have a dynamic impact on the future of Javan rhinoceros conservation.