Asian rhino conference hailed as major step forward
JAKARTA (AFP) - Environmentalists on Friday hailed measures including tough anti-poaching initiatives to help boost the dwindling population of Asian rhinos agreed at an international conference in Indonesia.
Officials from Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nepal held a two-day meeting this week on Indonesia's western Sumatra island to discuss the plight of the animals.
Two out of three Asian rhino species - the Sumatran and Javan rhinos - are critically endangered, and the third, the greater one-horned rhino, is classified as vulnerable.
The populations have dwindled rapidly as poachers hunt the animal for its horn which is highly valued for use in traditional Chinese medicine, and the WWF says only around 3,500 rhinos remain in the wild in Asia.