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Current Affairs

Sumatran rhino gets extinct in Malaysia

Date: 24 November 2019 Tags: Biodiversity

Issue

The Sumatran rhinoceros has become extinct in Malaysia, after the last of the species in the country succumbed to cancer.

 

Background

Efforts to breed Sumatran Rhinos  have been futile but  authorities have harvested their cells for possible reproduction in the future.

 

Details

  • The Sumatran rhino, the smallest of five rhinoceros species, once roamed across Asia as far as India, but its numbers have shrunk drastically due to deforestation and poaching.

  • The WWF conservation group estimates that there are only about 80 left, mostly living in the wild in Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia.

  • The International Union for the Conservation of Nature identifies the Sumatran as well as the Black and Javan rhinoceros as being critically endangered.

  • Both African and Sumatran rhinoceros have two horns, while the others have a single horn.

  • Rhinos are killed for their horns, which consist of keratin similar to human hair and nails and are used in traditional medicines in parts of Asia.

Rhino species

  • The White Rhino

  • The white rhino is one of the two rhino species found in Africa. Despite its name the white rhino is not actually white at all, its skin is grey in colour.

  • Populations of white rhino have recovered from an all time low of around 100 in 1895 to the current wild population of around 20,170. However, an increase in rhino poaching since 2008 is once again threatening the total population.

  • IUCN conservation status is near threatened.

  • Distribution: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda.

  • Black rhino

  • The black rhino is one of the two rhino species found in Africa. The black rhino is also known as the hook lipped rhino.

  • Populations of black rhino have been decimated over recent years. It is thought that as recently as 1970 there were as many as 65,000 black rhinos in the wild. The estimated population today is less than 5,000.

  • IUCN status is Critically endangered.

  • Distribution: Namibia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

  • Great one horned Rhino

  • Also known as the Indian rhino, the Greater One Horned rhino is one of the three rhino species found in Asia.

  • It is estimated that as few as 200 individuals existed in the wild in the early 1900’s. Thanks to a concerted conservation effort their current population is thought to be around 3,333.

  • IUCN status is Vulnerable.

  • Distribution: India and Nepal.

  • Sumatran Rhinos

  • The Sumatran rhino is one of the three rhino species found in Asia. Their population is said to have declined by about 50% since the late 1990’s.

  • The Sumatran is the smallest and hairiest of all the surviving rhinos. It is said to be the closest living relative to the now extinct woolly rhino.

  • IUCN status is Critically Endangered.

  • Distribution: Indonesia and Malaysia.

  • Javan Rhinos

  • They are the most endangered of all the five species of rhino with only as few 50 thought to still survive in the wild today. Extinction for the Javan rhino is a very real possibility.

  • Last remaining rhinos are protected at Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia.

  • IUCN status: Critically Endangered.

  • Distribution: Indonesia