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.