The Sunda rhinoceros, lesser one-horned rhinoceros, or more popularly Javan rhinoceros, Rhinoceros sondaicus, is a very rare member of the family Rhinocerotidae and one of five extant rhinoceroses. It belongs to the same genus as the Indian rhinoceros, and has similar mosaicked, armour-like skin, but at 3.1–3.2 m (10.2–10.5 ft) in length and 1.4–1.7 m (4.6–5.8 ft) in height, it is smaller (in fact, it is closer in size to the black rhinoceros of the genusDiceros). Its horn is usually less than 25 cm (10 in), smaller than those of the other rhino species. Only adult males have horns; females lack them altogether.
Once the most widespread of Asian rhinoceroses, the Sunda rhinoceros ranged from the islands of Java and Sumatra, throughout Southeast Asia, and into India and China. The species is critically endangered, with only one known population in the wild, and no individuals in captivity. It is possibly the rarest large mammal on earth,:21 with a population of as few as 40 in Ujung Kulon National Park at the western tip of Java in Indonesia. A second population inCat Tien National Park in Vietnam was confirmed as extinct in 2011. The decline of the Sunda rhinoceros is attributed to poaching, primarily for their horns, which are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine, fetching as much as US$30,000 per kg on the black market.:31 As European presence in their range increased, trophy hunting also became a serious threat. Loss of habitat, especially as the result of wars, such as the Vietnam War, in Southeast Asia, has also contributed to the species’ decline and hindered recovery. The remaining range is within one nationally protected area, but the rhinos are still at risk from poachers, disease, and loss of genetic diversity leading toinbreeding depression.
The Sunda rhino can live around 30–45 years in the wild. It historically inhabited lowland rain forest, wet grasslands, and large floodplains. It is mostly solitary, except for courtship and offspring-rearing, though groups may occasionally congregate near wallows and salt licks. Aside from humans, adults have no predators in their range. The Sunda rhino usually avoids humans, but will attack when it feels threatened. Scientists and conservationists rarely study the animals directly due to their extreme rarity and the danger of interfering with such an endangered species. Researchers rely oncamera traps and fecal samples to gauge health and behavior. Consequently, the Sunda rhino is the least studied of all rhino species. Two adult rhinos with their calves were filmed in a motion-triggered video released on February 28, 2011, by WWF and Indonesia’s National Park Authority, which proved it is still breeding in the wild. In April 2012, the National Parks Authority released video showing 35 individual Sunda rhinos, including mother/offspring pairs and courting adults.
(From Wikipedia, February 2015)