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Indonesia gangs poached 26 rare Javan rhinos since 2018: Police

INDONESIA (AFP) – Indonesian police said on Tuesday that suspected poaching gangs had killed 26 rare Javan rhinos since 2018, in a case that has shone a light on the existential threat facing one of the world’s most endangered mammals.
The rhinoceros endemic to Indonesia’s most populous island is critically endangered, with authorities believing there are only around 82 remaining in Ujung Kulon National Park in western Java.
Police paraded five suspected poachers and their confiscated firearms at a press conference on Tuesday, after saying last week they were investigating claims by an arrested poacher that his gang had killed dozens of rhinos.
Two groups were behind the killings, according to director of criminal investigation in Java’s Banten province Yudhis Wibisana.
One “admitted that 22 animals had been killed and their horns sold” while another “admitted four animals had been killed,” Yudhis told reporters on Tuesday. The horns were sold on to China, he said, declining to reveal the value each would fetch.
A total of eight suspected poachers from the two groups were still on the run, he said.
Banten police chief Abdul Karim said in a separate statement on Tuesday that 14 suspects had been named in connection with the killing of “around 26 rhinos”.Last week, an Indonesian court sentenced ringleader of one of the poaching groups to 12 years in prison after he was found guilty of killing at least six Javan rhinos between 2019 and 2023 in the national park.

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