In 2011, careful newspaper readers might have noticed a small article tucked away in the science and environment sections, which said that authorities had determined that sometime during the previous year, Vietnam’s last Javan rhino had been killed by poachers in Cat Tien National Park. Rangers had found the enormous bullet-riddled corpse with its horn sawn off. It had taken more than a year to determine absolutely that this had been the very last rhino in Vietnam, and that there were no others hiding in the bush. A typical story, such as the one on the BBC News website, noted that this individual had been the last surviving member of the subspecies Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus.
Dry and to the point, the news was a stunning surprise to anyone who knew the background. It was a shocking example of what had been occurring in Indochina since I was last at Cat Tien in person, in 1998, to meet the wildlife biologists working there to rescue the animal from extinction.
–Dan Drollette Jr.