First, four Javan rhino calves have been spotted in Indonesia. One of if not the most endangered mammal on the planet, there are only an estimated 50-60 Javan rhinos in the world. The species is rarely seen, so news of any breeding success is extremely exciting.

Not far away, in Malaysia, a breeding program is being set up for the Borneo Sumatran rhino. Only 300 or so Sumatran rhinos remain, including maybe 30 of the Borneo Sumatran sub-species. Authorities now hope to capture a few more males and some females, and anticipate that putting the reclusive creatures in close proximity to each other will help inspire them to breed.

Of course, each species has population numbers so low that saving either from extinction won't be easy. But at least we're moving in the right direction.

Story by John Platt. This article originally appeared in Plenty in December 2008.

Copyright Environ Press 2008

Good news for world's rarest rhinos
Some small hope emerges for the planet's rarest rhinos to escape extinction.