THE AVAILABILITY OF FOOD PLANTS AND HABITAT UTILIZATION OF JAVAN RHINO (RHINOCEROS SONDAICUS)Sofiatin, Achmad Sjarmidi, Ujang Mamat Rahmat and Tati Suryati Syamsudin
The conservation of the Javan rhino is reliant on the quality of its habitat. The availability of food plants is one of the most important factors in habitat utilization; however, the distribution and abundance of vegetation is not always available to rhino. This study aims to assess the availability of food plants in relation to habitat utilization by Javan rhino on a Peninsula of Ujung Kulon. The study was conducted at four sites where rhino distribution was concentrated: Cibandawoh, Cikeusik, Citadahan and Cigenter. Eight transects were set across the four locations and ten quadratic plots were made in each transect. Plant availability was measured by its species richness and abundance. A total of 100camera traps were set from March to December 2015, habitat utilization was estimated by frequency of occurrence and length of stay of rhino. The results found 120 plants species, 82 of which were edible to the rhino. At Citadahan, the total abundance of food plants was more than 100,000 ind/ha and the occurrence rate of rhino was the highest (189 video clips from 16 camera traps). Richness and abundance of vegetation was found to be strongly correlated with frequency of occurrence (r = 0.879; R2 = 0.773) and length of stay of Javan rhino (r = 0.849; R2 = 0.721). It can thus be concluded that the availability of food plants is a determinant factor in habitat utilization of the Javan rhino.
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