Map Shows Why Critically Endangered Rhinos Struggle to Survive

Fragmented habitat makes it hard for Sumatran rhinos to procreate and thrive. National Geographic is supporting a conservation effort that may help.

This story appears in the October 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Mating is a challenge for Sumatran rhinos. The critically endangered animals live in four isolated regions scattered across 10,000 square miles of steep, dense forest, and males rarely venture far. A new effort—led by the Indonesian government and supported by an alliance of conservation organizations, including the National Geographic Society—aims to help the species rebound by consolidating the fragmented populations and expanding breeding programs to several rhino sanctuaries within Indonesia. To help save the Sumatran Rhino visit SumatranRhinoRescue.org.

Sumatran rhino

(Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)

Height:

3.3–5 feet

Weight:

1,320–2,090 pounds

RHINOCEROS COLLAPSE

The number of Sumatran rhinos has dropped

an estimated 70 percent in the past two

decades, mostly due to poaching. Fewer than

a hundred remain in Indonesia, in isolated

pockets. Sumatran rhinos are solitary creatures.

They’re small compared with other rhino

species, and females give birth about every

three to five years.

asia

pacific

Ocean

Historic range

pacific

Ocean

Indonesia

aus.

Low Birth Rate

Small populations mean the Sumatran rhino’s

potential to reproduce is diminished, putting it

at a higher risk for extinction.

Out of Sight

Sumatran rhinos live in remote areas, so

sightings are rare and population figures are

often disputed. Camera traps are the primary

source of documentation.

A Species in Jeopardy

Isolation is the biggest threat to

Sumatran rhinos. In 2015 they were

declared extinct in the wild in Malaysia.

SUMATRA

Less than 75 rhinos

10 subpopulations or clusters

Thailand

Singapore

Wild rhino population

Park or reserve

Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary

In captivity

7 (3 males, 4 females)

3

LEUSER ECOSYSTEM

Less than 50 rhinos

6 subpopulations

1

BUKIT BARISAN

SELATAN N.P.

Less than 5 rhinos

2 subpopulations

WAY KAMBAS N.P.

Less than 20 rhinos

2 subpopulations

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

In captivity

2 (1 male, 1 female, not reproductively viable)

Wild rhino population

Brunei

Park or reserve

Celebes

Sea

Java Sea

INDONESIAN BORNEO

Less than 10 rhinos

Rhinos have been seen in the Kutai Barat and Mahakam Ulu Regencies, with other rumored sightings by locals.

Lauren E. James, Clare Trainor, NGM Staff

Art: Joe McKendry

Sources: Global forest watch; Protected

planet; Global wildlife Conservation;

International Rhino Foundation; World

wildlife Fund; IUCN Species Survival Commission

The Leuser Ecosystem

Out of Sight

Gulf of

Thailand

Sumatran rhinos live in remote areas, so sightings are rare and population figures are often disputed. Camera traps are the primary source of documentation.

This mountainous tropical rain forest is home to several small, scattered populations of Sumatran rhinos.

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

In captivity

2 (1 male, 1 female, not reproductively viable)

Royal Belum

State Park

Brunei

Bandar Seri Begawan

Gunung Leuser N.P.

Taman Negara N.P.

Danum Valley Conservation Area

LEUSER

ECOSYSTEM

Less than 50 rhinos

6 subpopulations

Kuala Lumpur

Lake

Toba

Celebes Sea

Singapore

SUMATRA

Less than 75 rhinos

10 subpopulations

or clusters

WAY KAMBAS N.P.

Less than 20 rhinos

2 subpopulations

Kerinci Seblat N.P.

Last record of

wild rhino: 2004

asia

Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary

Historic range

Low Birth Rate

In captivity

7 (3 males,4 females)

pacific

Ocean

pacific

Ocean

BUKIT BARISAN

SELATAN N.P.

Less than 5 rhinos

2 subpopulations

Small populations mean the Sumatran rhino’s potential to reproduce is diminished, putting it at a higher risk for extinction.

Java Sea

Indonesia

Jakarta

aus.

RHINOCEROS COLLAPSE

A Species in Jeopardy

Height:

3.3–5 feet

Isolation is the biggest threat to

Sumatran rhinos. In 2015 they were

declared extinct in the wild in Malaysia.

The number of Sumatran rhinos has dropped an estimated 70 percent in the past two decades, mostly due to poaching. Fewer than a hundred remain in Indonesia, in isolated pockets. Sumatran rhinos are solitary creatures. They’re small compared with other rhino species, and females give birth about every three to five years.

Sumatran rhino

Wild rhino population

(Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)

Last observed wild rhino location

Park or reserve

Weight:

1,320–2,090 pounds

Lauren E. James, Clare Trainor, NGM Staff. Art: Joe McKendry

Sources: Global forest watch; Protected planet; Global wildlife Conservation; International Rhino Foundation; World wildlife Fund; IUCN Species Survival Commission