Uncovering the Mystery of the Javan Rhinoceros: A Journey Through Bandung’s History

Uncovering the Mystery of the Javan Rhinoceros A Journey Through Bandung's History

javaprivatetour.com – Bandung, Indonesia, bustling city known for its vibrant culture, culinary delights, and natural beauty—conceals a fascinating historical chapter that few are aware of. Once upon a time, this bustling metropolis was home to a majestic creature: the Javan rhinoceros.

Where Rhinos Roamed

In the 1700s, Bandung was a vastly different place. The region, known as Tatar Ukur, was characterized by marshy wetlands—a favored habitat for the Javan rhinoceros. These gentle giants could be seen wallowing in the mud and grazing in the lush vegetation.


Traces of a Bygone Era

Remnants of this bygone era can still be found in the city. The statue of a white rhinoceros with a single horn, standing proudly in Taman Balaikota (City Hall Park), serves as a testament to the city’s forgotten inhabitants. The park, formerly known as Pieters Park during the Dutch colonial era, was once a haven for rhinos.

The name “Rancabadak,” which refers to an area in Bandung and a well-known hospital (Rumah Sakit Ranca Badak), also perpetuates the memory of these magnificent creatures.

Vanishing Act: The Demise of the Javan Rhino in Bandung

By the late 1800s, Bandung had undergone a dramatic transformation. The once-quiet village had grown into a bustling town, with expanding settlements and agricultural activities. This rapid development came at a cost—the Javan rhinoceros’ habitat was rapidly shrinking.

Hunting and Habitat Loss: A Deadly Combination

Male Javan rhino shot in 1934 in West Java.
Male Javan rhino shot in 1934 in West Java.

Pegiat Komunitas Aleut, Ridwan Hutagalung, believes that the primary cause of the rhino’s extinction in Bandung was habitat loss. As the city grew, forests and wetlands were converted for human use, leaving the rhinos with nowhere to go.

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Ridwan also speculates that hunting played a role in the rhino’s demise. European settlers in Bandung often engaged in hunting expeditions, targeting the rhinos and other animals in the surrounding forests.

The Last Stand

The last recorded sighting of a Javan rhinoceros in Bandung occurred in 1935, when it was hunted and killed in the Cililin forest. The tragic fate of this magnificent creature serves as a stark reminder of the devastating impact human activity can have on the natural world.

Zoological Museum Bogor's collection writes the title The Last Priangan Rhinoceros in the description of the two-ton rhinoceros.
Zoological Museum Bogor’s collection writes the title The Last Priangan Rhinoceros in the description of the two-ton rhinoceros.

Java Private Tour: Uncovering the Hidden Stories of Java

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