Sumatran rhino

Article

October 25, 2021

The Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is a single living and type species of the mammalian genus Dicerorhinus belonging to the order Perissodactyla of the class of mammals (Mammalia), including the family Rhinocerotidae. In 2019, it became an extinct species in Malaysia (it is estimated that fewer than eighty of them live, so the species is seriously endangered). Of the known rhino species, the Sumatras are the smallest, but still large compared to other terrestrial mammals. Height at the withers 112-145 centimeters, head-body length 236-318 centimeters, tail length 35-70 centimeters. It weighs between 500 and 1,000 kilograms, depending on its habitat; usually 700 to 800 kilograms. The record copy weighed 2,000 kilograms. Like the African species, the Sumatran rhinoceros has two calves: the anterior one is larger, usually 15 to 25 centimeters high and sitting on the nose of the animal, the second calyx is located between the anterior and forehead, and is really just a stump. Most of her body is covered with reddish-brown hair. Previously, this rhino species lived in the rainforests, swamps and mists of India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and China. In historical times, it occurred in southwestern China, especially in Sichuan. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) classifies this rare animal as a critically endangered species, as it now has only five stocks: four in Sumatra and one in Borneo; recently extinct in the Malaysian peninsula. It is very difficult to estimate the true number of specimens because they are solitary animals and live scattered in their areas of occurrence. It is estimated that fewer than 80 Sumatran rhinos may have survived worldwide, including zoos. The survival of the stock living in the Malay Peninsula is highly questionable, with one of the four Sumatran stocks probably already extinct. The main reason for the decline in numbers is poaching, as rhinoceros turkeys are valued in traditional Chinese medicine. Because of this, a kilogram of rhinoceros is sold on the black market for $ 50,000 to $ 65,000. On May 27, 2019, Tam was killed by the last Malaysian male Sumatran rhino; On November 23, 2019, this was followed by Iman, the last female in Malaysia. With the death of these two specimens, this rhino species became extinct in Malaysia; thus, the Sumatran rhino is now found only in Indonesia. It spends most of its life alone, with the exception of the period of reproduction and rearing of calves. Of the rhinos, the species in question makes the most sounds. In addition to sound, it marks its area with scraping of soil, felling of shrubs and piles of feces. This rhino species has been studied more than the more timid and thus less observed Javanese rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus), perhaps also because 40 specimens of this species were caught as a result of a breeding program. This breeding program, however, proved to be a disaster - already considered by the program’s initiators - because most of the animals caught died and no calves were born in 20 years, leading to a larger herd decline than if they had been left in the wild.

Discover and name

The first Sumatran rhino was shot down in 1793 near Fort Marlborough on the west coast of Sumatra (16 kilometers away). A drawing and first description of the animal was sent to Joseph Banks, an English naturalist who was then president of the Royal Society. Back in that year, Banks issued an official description of the animal. In 1814, Johann Fischer von Waldheim, a German anatomist, entomologist and paleontologist, gave the animal a scientific name.

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