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How the Sumatran rhino became critically endangered

Sumatran rhinos are a critically  endangered species found only in  

a few pockets of forest in Indonesia.

These animals historically ranged across Southern  Asia, from the foothills of the Himalayas and down  

the Malay peninsula, to the large islands of  Indonesia. They were never common and genetic  

evidence indicates their population has been  slowly decreasing for the past 10,000 years.  

The rate of decrease sped up  dramatically during the 20th century.  

Losses were driven by habitat destruction  and hunting for the horn trade.  

That decline advanced and accelerated and  populations began to separate from each other.  

They became marooned in constantly shrinking  islands of habitat that started to wink out  

as human societies took a firmer grip on the  region. As rhino populations fragmented into those  

dwindling pockets of forest, their small groups  got smaller. And in their increasing isolation,  

their birth rates started to drop. With births  of young rhinos likely now fewer than necessary  

to offset even their natural deaths, they  are slipping quickly towards extinction.