Java, Indonesia

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Clade: Synapsida
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Perissodactyla
  • Family: Rhinocerotidae
  • Genus: Rhinoceros
  • Species: R. sondaicus

It is estimated that there are less than 30,000 rhinos remaining on Earth today. Centuries ago, more than 100 rhino species existed and thrived across the globe. Today, sadly only 5 species are currently surviving.

Native to Asia, the Javan Rhino is the most threatened species of rhino and is currently facing extinction. There are only 60 Javan Rhinos left, all of which are located in one protected area, the Ujung Kulon National Park, located in Java, Indonesia. This species of rhino has a dark grey colouring, common amongst rhino species, and a single horn on its head which can reach up to 10 inches in length. It can reach a height of 5.8 feet and a length of 10.5 feet, making it a rather staggeringly large mammal. In addition, it’s weight accounts for its size, as Javan Rhino adults can reach a hefty weight of 5,071 pounds.

Less than 200 years ago, the animal existed across northeast Indonesia, as well as mainland countries in South East Asia such as Vietnam. By the 1930’s the Javan Rhino was nearly hunted to extinction in Malaysia, India, Burma and Sumatra. Unfortunately, hunting has continued throughout the years which has led to the species being on the brink of extinction today. Harsh hunting in the region saw the beautiful Javan Rhino be poached illegally for its horn, which is renowned as a special medicinal ingredient used in traditional Asian medicine.

Despite efforts to reduce poaching in the area, the hunting of the Javan Rhino was often carried out by highly organised local and international crime rings, which proved extremely difficult for the local authorities to intervene with.

In addition to poaching, the animal has also faced other tragic events and challenges. Civil wars such as the Vietnam War severely depleted the natural habitat of Javan Rhinos. Today even at the protected Ujung Kulon National Park, the Javan Rhino species still face natural challenges such as tsunamis which are known to occur in the area and a potential eruption of the Anak Krakatau volcano which could occur in the future.

At the moment, conservation teams are relieved that poaching is no longer a threat to the animal, despite severe damage already having occurred over the years. Today, work is being planned to create a project to move the Rhinos from Ujung Kulon National Park to another suitable location in Indonesia, which could help the Rhino to be saved from extinction.

Estimated Javan Rhino population figures between 2010 and 2016

Today, the Javan Rhino population stands at just 60 individuals, all of which currently live in the Ujung Kulon National Park. Though the last time a Javan Rhino was poached in Vietnam was in 2010, the population has not grown and in fact has decreased rather than the contrary. However, the population still has hope to grow in the future, thanks to conservation efforts that have protected the species from one of their biggest threats-poaching.

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