The Sumatran rhino is one of Asia's most unusual creatures. Dubbed the "hairy rhino", due to the reddish-brown fur that covers its body, it is the smallest rhino species on Earth.
The Sumatran rhino no longer exists in the wild in Malaysia, according to a new paper published in the scientific journal Oryx. Only two hairy rhinos have been found in Malaysia since 2007. Historically, the Sumatran rhino’s habitat spanned across most of Southeast Asia.
Today, wild Sumatran rhinos can only be found in Indonesia. Even there, numbers have dwindled, to an estimated 100 or less. With only nine rhinos currently living in captivity, the species is on the brink of extinction.
The Sumatran rhino is one of Asia’s most unusual creatures. Dubbed the “hairy rhino” due to the reddish-brown fur that covers its body, it is the smallest rhino species on Earth. It is also the last remaining representative of the Woolly Rhino family.
Unfortunately, like many other rhinos, the Sumatran rhino has been targeted by poachers, as the demand for illegal rhino horns remains high in Asia. One of the co-authors of the study, Widodo Ramono, called for “serious efforts by the government of Indonesia” to strengthen protection of the remaining Sumatran rhinos.
Many people are unaware that rhinos exist outside Africa. However, according to Newsweek, of the five living species of rhino, three are native to Asia. Globally, all rhino species are in danger. Earlier this year, one of the few remaining northern white rhinos, a sub-species in Africa, died, leaving left only four surviving rhinos, all in captivity.