Sumatran rhino footprints believed found on Borneo

In this undated photo released by the WWF-Indonesia, a scientist measures a footprint which is believed to be of a Sumatran rhino in a forest in Kutai Barat, East Kalimantan province, Indonesia. AP Photo/WWF-Indonesia

Several footprints believed to be from critically endangered Sumatran rhino have been found on Indonesia's Borneo island, raising hopes for the existence of an animal long thought to be extinct in that area, a conservation group said Thursday.

The fresh tracks were discovered in February while a WWF team was monitoring orangutans in West Kutai forested district of East Kalimantan province, according to a statement.

A follow-up survey carried out by the team, along with government forestry officials and scientists from Mulawarman University, discovered more footprints, horn scratches at mud holes, trees used as rubbing posts and bite marks on plants. But the number of potential animals remains unclear.

The rhino has been thought to be extinct on Indonesia's part of Borneo since the 1990s. Fewer than 200 animals still live in the wild in Indonesia and Malaysia, threatened by loss of habitat and poaching.

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