Footprints thought to be from the critically endangered Sumatran rhino have been found on Borneo island, where the species was believed to have been extinct for 20 years, environmental group WWF said on Thursday.

The Sumatran rhino population has dropped by 50 per cent over the past two decades and there are now believed to be fewer than 200 left in the world.

A team from WWF-Indonesia in February found several fresh footprints, mudpools and other evidence in West Kutai district, East Kalimantan province, suggesting the species is roaming Borneo, an island Indonesia shares with Malaysia and Brunei.

“The findings are a breath of fresh air since the Sumatran rhino in Kalimantan was believed to be extinct since the 1990s,” WWF said in a statement.

Experts at Mulawarman University in East Kalimantan confirmed the scientific findings and said the footprints most likely belonged to the Sumatran rhino.

Sumatran rhinos are commonly targeted by poachers and rampant illegal logging has destroyed much of their habitat. — AFP