Sumatran Rhinoceros

Sumatran Rhinoceros

Sumatran Rhinoceros – Dicerorhinus sumatrensis

The appearance of the Sumatran Rhinoceros is one that is smaller than the other species. They have a coat of reddish hair that covers their bodies. It is possible that there is a group of them living in Burma but political red tape has prevented that from being confirmed or denied. These Rhinoceros are included in various stories and legends that continue to circulate in certain cultures.

Description

This particular species of Rhinoceros stands approximately 4 ½ feet tall. They weigh from 1,000 to 1,800 pounds. They have two horns but the second one is usually nothing more than a stub. The skin is very thick with deep folds around various areas of it in order to create a look of pieces of armor.

Distribution

The Sumatran Rhinoceros are found in the area of Indonesia. There are only three known locations for them in this area today. This includes Sumatra, Borneo, and the Malaysia Peninsula. It is believed that only 200 or so of them remain in the wild today. They are able to survive in both the highland and the lowland areas.

Behavior

This species of Rhinoceros is very solitary. With the low numbers they are able to spread out and rarely come into contact with each other. For the females that care for their young that is the main interactions that take place. The males many have to travel a great distance in order to find females for mating. During those travels they may become very aggressive to each other. When they are around each other they are the most vocal of all Rhinoceros species. They make various types of whistling sounds.

Sumatran Rhinoceros, a Critically Endangered species

Sumatran Rhinoceros – Dicerorhinus sumatrensis / Photo taken by Ltshears

Diet /Feeding

Their diet consists of leaves, saplings, twigs, shoots, and various types of fruits. The average adult Sumatran Rhinoceros can consume about 110 pounds of food every single day. There are over 100 different types of foods that they can choose from in their habitat. When they are stressed out they may twist samplings around in their mouths but not consume them.

The majority of their diet offers them high volumes of fiber but very little protein. This is why they are often seen at salt lick areas. They also have a need for water on a daily basis. They can go for a few days without water but that can be very difficult for the overall functions of their bodies.

Reproduction

The females are mature for mating around 7 years of age while the males are about 10 years old. The males can be very aggressive if a female doesn’t want to mate with him. This can result in him injuring or even killing her.

Once mating has successfully occurred it will be about 16 months before a baby is born. They can weight up to 50 pounds at birth. They will remain with their mothers for about 1 ½ to 2  years of age.

Conservation

Poaching continues to be a huge concern from the Sumatran Rhinoceros in spite of conservation efforts. With a single horn bringing in close to $30,000 in illegal markets. Conservation efforts focus on stopping poaching and on preserving the natural habitat of these animals. They don’t do well in captivity as a study proved.

A group of 40 of them were placed into a reservation area. More than half of them died within the first five years of the program. No a single baby was born over the course of the 20 year study. The stress due to changes in the environment proved to be too much of these animals.