Conservation

Due to habitat destruction and illegal hunting, the diverse and unique Sumatran megafauna, which includes rhinos, elephants, orangutans, and tigers, is dying out. We are supporting the projects of Global Conservation and its partners to protect and sustainably develop the Leuser Ecosystem in northern Sumatra. Leuser covers more than 2 million hectares – the largest tropical forests in southeast Asia. Of the world’s less than 100 remaining wild Sumatran rhinos, Leuser contains roughly 50. To help protect that rhino population, Global Conservation is establishing new protected areas, wildlife corridors and buffer areas. It is supporting two new local NGOs with over 140 field staff for conservation and patrols. Its strategy has been quite successful, deploying more than 100 anti-poaching patrols, which have reduced the scale of illegal habitat destruction and wildlife trade.

Common name Sumatran rhino

Scientific name (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)

Status IUCN Critically endangered

Distribution Sumatra and Borneo

Population Less than 100 individuals

Trend Decreasing

Threats Habitat loss and ilegal hunting

Photos: @Global Conservation

Photos: @Global Conservation

Habits, distribution and status

Sumatran rhinos were historically distributed in Southeast Asia, from throughout Asia to the Malayan peninsula, in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, including the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. Solitary most of the time, except in the breeding season, they have a long lifespan and low reproductive rates. They are herbivores, found in tropical regions covered with cloud forests, rain forests, and swamps. They have vanished throughout most of their historic range. Today, this species is only found in Sumatra and eastern Kalimantan (Indonesia), on the island of Borneo. Sumatran rhinos were never abundant in historic times. There were an estimated 5,000 individuals in 1900, and by the beginning of this century, likely less than 1,000 survived in fragmented populations. Currently, less than 80 individuals remain in fragmented areas of Sumatra. An additional small population of an estimated 15 rhinos survive in Kalimantan. The main threats to the Sumatran rhino are habitat loss for agriculture, cattle pastures, and logging. Along with,illegal hunting for its horn, which have attributed medicinal properties in Asian culture, especially in China and Vietnam. This species is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and included in appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).