A Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) poses for a picture at the White Oak conservation center in Yulee, Florida.
Joel Sartore/National Geographic Photo Ark
About the Sumatran Rhinoceros
The two-horned Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) shares the bleak distinction of world’s most endangered rhino with its regional cousin, the Javan rhino. The smallest of the rhino family, the Sumatran rhinoceros lives in isolated pockets in the dense mountain forests of Indonesia.
Sumatran rhinos are generally solitary creatures that feed on fruits, twigs, leaves, and shrubs. Like other rhinos they have a keen sense of smell and sharp hearing, and they use these traits to distinguish their territories from rival rhinos.
Size and Hairy Hide
As the smallest rhino, they weigh about 798 kilograms (1,760 pounds), and grow to a height near 1.5 meters (5 feet) at the shoulders and 2.45 to 3.05 meters (8 to 10 feet) in length. Unlike most other rhinos, their hide, dark red-brown in color, is covered with patches of short, dark, stiff hair.
Rhino Horn and Trafficking
The Sumatran rhino’s two horns are considerably smaller than those of their African relatives, the black and white rhinos. The anterior horn may grow up to 79 centimeters (31 inches), but is normally much smaller, while the posterior horn may grow up to 7.5 centimeters (3 inches), but is generally no more than a hump.
The horns for which rhinos are so well known have been their downfall. Many animals have been killed for this hard growth, which is made of a hair-like substance and is revered for medicinal use in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The horn is also valued in the Middle East, Yemen especially, and North Africa as an ornamental dagger handle.
Listed as critically endangered, there are thought to be fewer than 100 Sumatran rhinos in existence today. While a number of these animals are kept in zoos, they rarely breed in captivity. The main threats to their survival in the wild include poaching and habitat encroachment by humans.
to mate animals in a controlled environment.
level of conservation between "endangered" and "extinct in the wild."
environment where an organism lives throughout the year or for shorter periods of time.
decorative or presented for beauty.
to hunt, trap, or fish illegally.
type of plant, smaller than a tree but having woody branches.
alone or preferring to be alone.
land an animal, human, or government protects from intruders.