Also known as Dicerorhinus sumatrensis Sumatran rhinos are one of the three species of rhino native to Asia. Not only that but it is also the smallest species of all the living five species of rhinos and they belong to the order Perissodactyla.
In the past Sumatran rhinos were found across southeast Asia. However because of hunting and habitat loss this species has become one of the rarest seen species of large mammals. Now the Sumatran rhinos are faced with extinction in spite of decades of conservation efforts. Scientists have not seen such a rhino in the wilderness since 2007.
Sumatran rhinos have poor eyesight and that is why they rely more on their other senses, smell and hearing. The animal has ears provided with a wide rotation range and their sense of smell is excellent. A particular feature through which the animal can be recognized is its two deep skin folds which encircle its body between the legs and the trunk. The rhino also has a tick pelage with short stiff hairs and a stout with two horns. It weights between 500 and 1.000 kilos and can reach heights between 1.12 and 1.45 meters.
The lead author of the study Rasmus Gren Havmøller from the University of Copenhagen remarked:
It is vital for the survival of the species that all remaining Sumatran rhinos are viewed as a metapopulation, meaning that all are managed in a single program across national and international borders in order to maximize overall birth rate. This includes the individuals currently held in captivity.”
According to the research only there are less than 100 Sumatran rhinos that live in in three separated populations in the wilderness. One of the populations had seen a 70 percent decline in the distribution range over the last decade.
Besides the rhinos that live in the wilderness there are only nine specimens of Sumatran rhinos that are kept in captivity: five are kept in the Sumatran Shino Sanctuary in Indonesia, one is in the Cincinnati Zoo in the US but it will soon join the rhinos living in Indonesia and three other specimens are in Sabah, Malaysia where scientists are attempting to produce embryos using in vitro fertilization.
Image Source: savetherhino.org