Tag Archives: Sumatran Rhino

Is this the End of the Sumatran Rhino?

Some years ago when i was in high school there were an estimated 800 Sumatran Rhino left in the world. Today estimates have as few as 30 to no higher than 90 animals left in the wild and captivity combined.

Habitat destruction has been the primary culprit along with poaching for rhino horn. Mismanagement of wildlife conservation has been another factor that has plagued the protection of this unique species. For the years the governments of Indonesia and Malaysia have not cooperated to devise a comprehensive management plan to include captive breeding and habitat protection. Now with perhaps as few as 30 animals left on earth is it too late.

History has shown that it is not too late. The White Rhinoceros was nearly exterminated and number were reduced to as low as 50 animals. Today there are around 15,000. The number was higher a decade ago but years of poaching have reduced the species by over a thousand animals a year for the past ten years.

Captive breeding has been successful recently at the Cincinnati zoo until their last female rhino died. The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) breeding center in Sumatra has had success but the number of offspring is not competing with the overall birth/death rate.

The Sumatran Rhino s the smallest of all five rhino species, it is also a close relative of the extinct Wooly Rhinoceros that dies out at the end of the Pleistocene Era. To lose another rhino species in such a short time in geological history would be a tragedy.

More can and needs to be done to save this species. IT IS NOT TOO LATE! An aggressive captive breeding program must be implemented with combined efforts of Indonesia and Malaysia. Some scientists believe that  In vitro fertilization may be the answer. It is certainly worth a try. We will not know unless an effort is put to the test.

Recently the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF) partnered with NatGeoWild to host a program on Sumatran Rhino Conservation in Dali, China. The event screened clips from Operation Sumatran Rhino and discussed conservation work for tis endangered species. In the audience were over 150 wildlife conservation experts, biologists, government representatives from multiple South-east Asia countries and leaders in the nature/wildlife documentary film industry. All were in agreement, more needs to be done to save this species and the power of this film is getting the word out.

Christopher J. Gervais, F.R.G.S.

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
October 18-28, 2018 | New York, NY
Twitter: @WCFF_org
Instagram: @wcff_org
LinkedIn: Wildlife Conservation Film Festival

World Rhino Day

Today is World Rhino Day. Wildlife conservationists and concerned individuals alike are celebrating the large, horned herbivores by spreading awareness about the vulnerable species.  World Rhino Day has grown into a global phenomenon to spread the word about both the beauty of rhinoceros and the dangers they are facing. Here are ten interesting facts about rhinos, as well as ways to contribute to World Rhino Day.

1. There are five species of rhino, which are indigenous to Africa and Asia: black, white, greater one-horned or Indian, Sumatran and Javan rhinos. World Rhino Day celebrates all five species.

2. Rhinos have been around for more than 50 million years. Some of the world’s first rhinos didn’t have horns and roamed through North America and Europe. But no known rhino species have ever inhabited the South American or Australian continents. The Sumatran rhino is the closest living relative of the ancient woolly rhino.

Black Rhinoceros 3

3. Rhino is short for rhinocerous, which means “nose horn.” The rhino’s horn is not bone and it’s not attached to its skull. In fact, its hollow and made from a protein called keratin, the same substance that makes up fingernails and hair. Just like our own hair and nails, a rhino’s horn continues to grow throughout the animal’s lifetime. The longest known horn was 4 feet 9 inches long on a black rhino, which on average has a 20-inch horn, according to Save the Rhino, a conservation charity based in the United Kingdom

4. Three of the rhino species are listed as “critically endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, which means they have a 50 percent chance of becoming extinct in three generations. With its headquarters in the United Kingdom, the IUCN is the leading world’s authority on the conservation status of species.

Sumatran Rhino 2

There are perhaps 95-125 Sumatran Rhinoceros left in the wild.
A “Last Stand is being made by multiple conservation and government agencies to offer more protection and save this
species from extinction.

5. The IUCN Red List identifies Javan and Sumatran rhinos, two species native to Asia, and the black rhino, which is native to eastern and central Africa, as “critically endangered.” The Indian or greater one-horned rhino, native to the Indian subcontinent, is identified as “vulnerable.” And the white rhino, which mainly lives in South Africa, is identified as “near threatened.”

6. Rhinos can grow to over 6 feet tall and more than 11 feet long. The white rhino is the second largest land mammal after the elephant, with adult males weighing up to a massive 3.6 tons. Thanks to conservation efforts, this rhino species was brought back from the brink of extinction. But a surge in poaching for their horns has seen a record number killed in recent years. There are 20,000 southern white rhinos living in protected areas and private game reserves, mostly in South Africa, and just four northern white rhinos living in captivity in Kenya and the United States.

7. The Javan rhino is the world’s rarest land mammal and less than 50 survive in Indonesia’s Ujong Kulon National Park, according to Save the Rhino.


Perhaps as few as 50-60 Javan rhinoceros remain in the world. However recently three separate calves were seen via camera traps. This gives hope the species can be saved from extinction.

8. Rhinos have poor eyesight and have difficulty detecting someone only a hundred feet away. But they have a high sense of smell and well-developed hearing and can run up to 40 miles per hour.

9. Rhinos have thick skin that can be very sensitive to sunburns and insect bites. The animals wallow in mud, which protects their skin from the sun and bites when it dries.

10. Rhinoceros pregnancies last for 15 to 16 months and mother rhinos are very nurturing. Their young stay with them until they are about  3 years old, according to Save the Rhino


The Wildlife Conservation Film Festival & Biodiversity Conference, October 16-25 in New York, NY will feature several speakers to discuss the conservation of rhino. Also will be the world premiere of HORN, produced by Dr. Reina-Marie Loader of the Cinema Humain and professor at the University of Vienna.

2015 WCFF Post Card