Sumatran Rhino

Sumatran Rhino

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Sumatran rhinoceroses are the smallest extant rhinoceroses and the only Asian rhinoceroses with two horns. They have lengthy hair and are more closely linked to the extinct woolly rhinos than any other rhino species now living. Calves are born with a dense coat that turns reddish-brown as they grow older, then becomes thin, bristly, and virtually black. Sumatran rhinos vie with Javan rhinos for the unenviable distinction of being the most endangered rhino species. Sumatran rhinos are more imperiled than Javan rhinos, but perhaps live in greater numbers. This is owing to habitat degradation and fragmentation.

The remaining animals live in small, fragmented, non-viable communities, and with few opportunities to mate, the population continues to fall. In the last 15 years, just two captive females have given birth.

  • STATUS: Critically Endangered
  • POPULATION: Fewer than 80, including about 30 mature individuals (source IUCN)
  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Dicerorhinus sumatrensis
  • HEIGHT: 3.3–5 feet
  • WEIGHT: 1,320 -2,090 pounds
  • LENGTH: 6.5–13 feet
  • HABITATS: Dense highland and lowland tropical and sub-tropical forests
Sumatran Rhino Map

The Sumatran rhino previously inhabited the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas in Bhutan and eastern India, as well as Myanmar, Thailand, maybe Vietnam and China, and the Malay Peninsula in the south. Only the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo are home to the species now. The third subspecies, according to experts, is likely extinct.

Why They Matter

Other valuable plants and animals can be found in all rhino conservation zones. Rhino conservation benefits other animals and plants in the vicinity, as well as ecosystems.

Threats

  • POPULATION: Fewer than 80, including about 30 mature individuals (source IUCN)
  • EXTINCTION RISK: Critically Endangered
Sumatran Rhino.

Illegal Wildlife Trade

The unsustainable surge in rhino horn poaching across Africa and Asia is due to rising consumer demand. Rhino horn is prized in areas of Asia for its reputed medical properties as well as as a carved adornment that denotes social position and pride.

The two biggest markets for rhino horn are China and Vietnam. In the 1990s, demand in China began to rise in unison with the country’s rising economic expansion. According to research conducted by TRAFFIC, the world’s largest wildlife trade monitoring network, and the WWF, rhino horn is still used in traditional medicine in many nations.

Suamatran Rhino..

Habitat Loss

Invasive species, road building, and encroachment for agricultural expansion are all threatening Sumatran rhino habitat. For example, illegal settlers are converting forest land in Sumatra’s Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park to grow coffee and rice.

Lack of Protection

Existing protected areas are insufficiently protected. Communities are not properly involved or incentivized to safeguard rhinos when they leave protected areas.

Sumatran Rhino…

Small Population Size and Isolation

We assume that breeding among wild Sumatran rhinos is minimal in most regions due to low numbers, a low likelihood of breeding pairs encountering one another, and reproductive issues among elderly females. The majority, if not all, of the remaining sub-populations are too small to be viable breeding populations for the long term.

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