Species

Sumatran Rhino Rescue

Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)

With fewer than 80 individuals left in the world, the Critically Endangered Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) – the smallest of all rhino species – is one of the most endangered land mammals on the planet. Rhino experts and Indonesian government officials have reached a consensus that the only way to bring the Sumatran Rhino back from the brink is to relocate the widely dispersed wild populations to managed breeding facilities designed specifically for their care.

IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) are working with National Geographic SocietyWorld Wildlife FundInternational Rhino Foundation, Global Wildlife Conservation and the Government of Indonesia in a ground-breaking alliance to save the Sumatran rhino from imminent extinction. The Sumatran Rhino now exists only in four isolated regions across 10,000 square miles of rainforests on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo. 

Together, we have the knowledge, expertise, and strategy to secure the resources needed to save the Sumatran Rhino. No single organisation could successfully tackle this enormous challenge on its own. At the IUCN Species Survival Commission, we are proud to convene this strong and uncommon alliance, and are confident we’ll see the Sumatran rhino thrive once more.

Jon Paul Rodríguez, Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission.

By working hand-in-hand with Indonesia’s top environment officials, the alliance strives to ensure the long-term viability and success of the efforts. Through this innovative partnership, SSC is convening scientists, conservationists, and government to facilitate both rapid progress to relocate rhinos in the near-term and sustained stewardship of future generations of rhinos over the long-term.

Specifically, Sumatran Rhino Rescue focuses its activities in three key areas of species conservation and care:

  • Capacity Building: Establishing two new Sumatran Rhino Sanctuaries in Indonesia, one in Indonesian Borneo and the other in northern Sumatra, and expanding the existing facility in Way Kambas National Park;
     
  • Search and Rescue: Undertaking search and rescue operations to move isolated Sumatran rhinos to managed conservation breeding facilities; and
     
  • Care and Protection: Incorporating rhinos into a single conservation-breeding programme that uses state-of-the-art veterinary and husbandry care designed to maximise population growth.
     

In November 2018, the alliance successfully rescued and relocated a healthy female rhino to a secure facility in Kalimantan with the support of local partners. This rescue was the first major activity of the conservation-breeding program led by the Sumatran Rhino Rescue to save the species from extinction and eventually increase populations to numbers that allow them to return to the wild.

In May 2019, the Sumatran Rhino Rescue welcomed the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical GardenSave the Rhino International and the Wilhelma Zoological and Botanical Garden Stuttgart, to the ground-breaking effort to save the Sumatran rhino. 

For more information, and to get involved, visit SumatranRhinoRescue.org.  

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