7 Sumatran Rhinos Photographed in Indonesian Forest

Fewer than 200 Critically Endangered Sumatran rhinos are still surviving in fragmented populations in Indonesia and Malaysia.

A population survey has revealed that Sumatran rhinos are still surviving in Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem area — where they have not been seen for 26 years.

Seven individual Sumatran rhinos were identified from over 1,000 photographs taken by camera traps, according to a statement released by the Leuser International Foundation (LIF). The survey team also found footprints, feces, mud wallows, and “twisted branches left by Sumatran rhinos.”

The ongoing survey of Sumatran rhino habitat and population in the Gunung Leuser National Park area is funded by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

The Leuser Ecosystem constitutes the third largest tropical rainforest complex in the world, after the Amazon forest in Brazil and the Zaire forest in Africa.

Several sites are being monitored and LIF estimates that as many as 25 Sumatran rhinos could be living in the Gunung Leuser National Park area. In 1985, the Park was home to 60 – 70 Sumatran rhinos.

Unfortunately, illicit activities such as encroachment, poaching, and illegal logging were also discovered in the Sumatran rhino habitat.

Leuser International Foundation held a meeting in March 2012 — attended by representatives from USFWS, International Rhino Foundation, Yayasan Badak Indonesia, and several other organizations — to discuss the recent findings and “the conservation and protection of the remaining Sumatran rhino population in Gunung Leuser National Park area.”

Fewer than 200 Sumatran rhinos are still surviving in fragmented populations in Indonesia and Malaysia. However, hope for this species was renewed in June 2012 with the historic birth of Andatu at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia. Andatu’s father is Andalas, who was born at the Cincinnati Zoo and relocated to Indonesia for the breeding program.


Photo © & courtesy of Bill Konstant/International Rhino Foundation.

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Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, and I work as an independent Wildlife Trade and Communication Design Consultant. I have journeyed to the streets of Hanoi to research the illegal wildlife trade, and to the rainforests of Sumatra and Java to document the world’s rarest rhinos. I am a Co-Chair of the SSN Pangolin Working Group. At CITES meetings, I collaborate with colleagues from around the world to lobby in favor of protecting endangered species. I am a Wildlife Trade and Trafficking Consultant for the upcoming documentary The Price, the host of Behind the Schemes and author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine. I enjoy desert gardening, herping, reading, designing, and walking with my dogs.