According to the WWF and the International Rhino Foundation (IRF), the Javan rhinoceros is extinct in Vietnam as of October 25, 2011.

IN 2009, Matador published an article titled 11 of the world’s most interesting animals on the verge of extinction. We identified the Javan rhino, an inhabitant of the rainforests of Southeast Asia. At that time, populations were at an all-time low due to poaching.

The species was originally believed to be extinct until about 1988, when a small group was found in Cat Tien National Park. Unfortunately, lack of adequate protection and heavy poaching for traditional medicine usage led to its disappearance. The last Javan rhino was actually killed in 2010 by a shot wound through the leg and found with its horn removed, but the species’ extinction in the area wasn’t confirmed until now.

For Vietnam, this means the loss of a part of their cultural heritage: conservation failure has already led to the extinction of the R. sondaicus inermiswas subspecies, and the last remaining wild Javan rhinos in the world exist in a small population of approximately 50 in Indonesia.

How you can help: Recent footage from Indonesia’s Ujung Kulon National Park shows that Javan rhinos are breeding in the park. Donating directly to the WWF will help fund important rhino projects, or you can fundraise to help the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) build their new rhino sanctuary. Hey, every penny counts. Sacrifice tomorrow’s coffee for some good karma.

* Feature photo: martinteschner