Dense lowland and highland tropical forests of Southeast Asia
Once found throughout Southeast Asia from Thailand to Malaysia and Indonesia, currently fewer than 100 of these rhinos exist in the wild. The last viable populations live in a few of the last expanses of intact rainforests on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Their numbers have decreased by 70% in the past 20 years and in 2015, they were declared extinct in the wild in Malaysia.
I’m the smallest of the five rhino species that exist on Earth today. That’s probably because a) I’m an island species (those always tend to be on the smaller side) and b) it’s convenient for wandering around in the dense vegetation of my home. Speaking of which: Obviously I’m strictly vegetarian and will go above and beyond for juicy ripe mangoes and figs!
I’m an introvert and like to be left alone: aka I’m solitary. But humans aren’t giving me the space I need — even though my two horns are *tiny* compared to what my African cousins rock, we’ve been hunted down for our horns, until fewer than 100 of us survive. But poaching isn’t the only threat we’re facing: clear-cut forests and fires have wiped out our habitat to create room for Conflict Palm Oil plantations. We love dense forests where we aren’t disturbed by humans and can meet a mate in privacy. Those of us that are left find it hard to find a mate. That’s how I got here: I’m a critically endangered species on the brink of extinction.
Fast Facts: Did you know?
I’m the only Asian rhino with two horns? Small but mighty is my motto!
I’m a hairy little rhino — that’s because my short, dark, stiff hair helps mud stick to my body. This helps me stay cool in the muggy heat of Sumatra — my portable AC! It’s also a relic from my ancestor, the woolly rhino.
Our babies actually *do* look like tiny woolly rhinos, since they’re born with a dense fur that turns reddish once they become teenagers (That’s why we need to reassure those kids every single day that their ginger hair will turn black’ish soon enough.)
My neighbor and cousin, the Javan rhino, is facing a similar fate? The two of us share the bleak distinction of “world’s most endangered rhino” -- that’s like the Golden Raspberry of wildlife: an award nobody wants, really.
The rainforests of the Amazon, Congo, and Indonesia are our last best line of defense against the biodiversity and climate crisis. But 17 corporations are making massive profits by driving their destruction and the violation of human rights. That has to end NOW.
Why I want to Keep Forests Standing
With every swath of pristine rainforest in Indonesia that’s being bulldozed and burned down for commodities like palm oil, I lose another place to hide from the poachers’ machetes, knives and chainsaws. All rhinos on Earth are endangered, even though we’re one of the most iconic animals every little kid learns about and loves. We’re part of the forests of Indonesia, and if we can keep these forests standing, your grandkids might be able to meet my grandkids one day.