Conservation status: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED
Common name: Javan Rhinoceros
Scientific name: Rhinoceros sondaicus
Diet: plants, particularly their shoots, twigs, and fruits
Length: 3.1m – 3.2m (Adult)
Weight: 900kg – 2,300kg
With only 60 or so individuals known to be remaining in the Unjong Kulon National park, the Javan Rhinoceros is one of the top ten endangered species in Asia. It is heartbreaking to learn that the once most widespread Asian Rhinoceros is now on the verge of extinction. As an aspiring scientist, I would be interested in finding a solution for their continued survival.
The decline of the Javan rhinoceros is primarily due to poaching, as their horns are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine, fetching as much as US$30,000 per kg on the black market. Trophy hunting is another serious threat. Of course, loss of habitat, especially as the result of wars, such as the Vietnam War, in Southeast Asia, has also contributed to the species’ decline and hindered recovery.
The remaining range is within one nationally protected area, but the rhinos are still at risk from poachers, disease, and loss of genetic diversity leading to inbreeding depression.
- “Rhinoceros Sondaicus (Javan Rhinoceros)”. Iucnredlist.Org, http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/19495/0.
- Santiapillai, C. (1992). “Javan rhinoceros in Vietnam”. Pachyderm. 15: 25–27.