The Last Unicorn Dies in Viet Nam
Many people believe that our legends regarding Unicorns actually started with Greek travelers and historians returning from India and Africa with descriptions of a One horned beast, “MonoKeros,” the Rhinoceros, which later might have become “Unicorn” as it was latinized from the original Greek tales.
Vietnam has lost its fight to save its rare Javan rhinoceros population after poachers apparently killed the country’s last animal for its horn, pushing one of the world’s most endangered species closer to extinction, a conservation group said Tuesday.
Vietnam’s Cat Tien National Park has had no sightings, footprints or dung from live rhinos since the last known animal living there was found dead last April, shot through the leg with its horn chopped off, the WWF said. Genetic analysis of rhino feces had confirmed in 2004 that at least two rhinos were living in the park, raising hopes that Vietnam’s population might survive.
Only 40 to 60 Javan rhinos now remain in Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia. They are the last known living members of the species, with none in captivity.
Vietnam’s Javan rhino population had been shrinking for decades as land conversion and a rising local population threatened the animal’s habitat, but poaching and a lack of effective park management and patrols hastened the decline, said Christy Williams, coordinator of WWF’s Asian Elephant and Rhino Program.