Sumatran rhinos are the smallest of the living rhinoceroses. They live in lowland swamps or montane forests. The Sumatran rhino feeds on fruit, twigs, leaves, and bark. The two current subspecies of the Sumatran rhinos can be found in Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Sumatran rhinos are among the most threatened rhinoceros species; consequently, they are potentially the most endangered rhino species (there are currently fewer than two hundred Sumatran rhinos in the world.) There are some major threats that will cause the Sumatran rhinos to be extinct during our lifetime; habitat loss, poaching, and genetic loss.
The first major threat that will cause Sumatran rhinos to be extinct during our lifetime is habitat loss. Sumatran rhinos are losing their habitat because forests are being cleared in order to convert the land for other uses, and because the construction of logging roads makes areas more accessible to poachers. For example, Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in Sumatra, Indonesia (which is estimated to have the largest amount of Sumatran rhinos) is still losing forest cover because illegal settlers are converting the forest for coffee and rice. In addition, Since Sumatran rhinos inhabit the remaining pockets of forest, they become even more vulnerable to environmental disasters, disease, and poaching.
Another major threat that will cause Sumatran rhinos to be extinct during our lifetime is poaching. Poaching is selling or exchanging wild animal and plant resources. When it comes to Sumatran rhinos, what is being exchanged is horn. In Asia, rhino horn (and in some cases, their meat) is used to create medicine for different types of ailments such as epilepsy, fevers, strokes, and even AIDS. Most of the people who are buying these medicines don’t even know that it comes from poached rhinos, so they keep buying it. A survey in China found that 66.9 percent of participants did not know that rhino horn comes from poached rhinos. Even though the use...
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