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Secretive Hairy Rhino Spotted for First Time in Over 40 Years

There are believed to be fewer than 100 of the rhinos left.

A rare Sumatran rhino has been seen in person in the wild for the first time in over four decades, sending conservationists into fits of glee. 

The hairy rhino, one of three species of Asian rhinos, was spotted and captured on March 12, an event partially caught on video. The animal, a female, will now be flown to a sanctuary not far from where she was found, in Indonesian Borneo, where officials hope she will breed with others and begin to multiply the world population. Fewer than 100 hairy rhinos are known to still exist, after the population was wiped out by poaching and loss of natural habitat. 

Glyn Davies, conservation director at the U.K. branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature, tells The Guardian that the animals are hard to spot in part because they are “very, very secretive.” 

About 15 other rhinos are thought to live in the area where the female was captured, officials said, giving them reason to think the critically endangered species could be saved. “It’s really a very exciting find,” Davies said.