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July 7, 2022, 01.26 PM

Samsudin, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, decided to dedicate his time to the conservation of Javan rhinos and other endangered species in 2014 after learning about their precarious situation.

Since then, he has traveled across the archipelago on an old bicycle, performing free puppet shows at stops along the way to teach children about the animals.

"I want them to know about rhinos before it's too late. I don't want them to only see rhinos from textbooks or cartoon movies," Samsudin said.

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Samsudin makes his puppets out of cardboard because it's readily available, and because he opposes the use of leather - which is used in traditional Javanese puppet theatre shows - for conservation reasons.

The use of visual storytelling makes the message easier for children to digest and creates a stronger bond between him and his young audience, he said.

"Children have a short attention span; I have to be creative to distract them from their gadgets," he said.

Rhino conservation is especially difficult because of the animals' long gestation period and their tendency to roam, which often leaves males and females separated during the mating period.

Samsudin is also determined to challenge cartoon depictions of rhinos as being lazy and dumb.

"Rhinos are very shy and they have an unusual appearance, but there are only a few of them left in the world, so I want to lift their image and make them special and wise creatures," he said.

Source AFP

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