This is the smallest of the rhinos. It has suffered a population decline of 50 percent in the ten years since 1990. The two main reasons for its decline have been overhunting for virtually every part of its body (especially the horn), and loss of its forested habitat due to conversion of the land to other uses. Rhino parts travel to Tapan in west Sumatra, the apparent centre of trade, where a horn brings as much as $70,000.
Tropical rainforest and mountain moss forest is the sumatran rhinos preferred habitat. The detailed distribution of the Sumatran rhino has always been difficult to establish with certainty, as it exists only in small, scattered populations in forested habitat. Up to the end of the 19th century, its range is thought to have generally extended from Assam and Bangladesh to Myanmar Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Peninsular, Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo. From the 1960's its largest concentrations have been on Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula. It has been known to be present on Borneo in Sabah and in small numbers in Myanmar and Thailand. It was rediscovered in Sarawak in 1987 after having been thought to be extinct there for forty years. There has been continued speculation that it may still exist in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
The Sumatran rhinoceros, which occurs in small numbers at several locations in Malaysia, has a viable breeding population only in Taman Negara and the Endau-Rompin forests. The Javan rhinoceros became extinct in 1932 due to poaching.
Probably the most endangered of all rhinoceros species. Numbers have declined by 50% due to poaching over the 1980's and 1990's. Fewer than 400 Sumatran rhino survive in very small and highly fragmented populations in Southeast Asia with Indonesia and Malaysia being the only significant range states. A 1997 IUCN estimate puts the total population of sumatran rhino at 400. The population of the borneo Sumatran Rhino at 100. The Malaya/Sumatra Sumatran Rhino population is at 300. For all the asian rhino species the estimate was 2500 and for the world population of all species of rhino at 13,565. Sumatran rhinos' numbers are believed to have plummeted by 50 percent or more during the 1980's and 1990's, according to the Asian Rhino Specialist Group for IUCN--The World Conservation Union.
The fires started in 1997 in Indonesia are threatening Sumatran Rhinos. The main concentrations of the Indonesian population of Sumatran rhinos (some 100-200 animals) are still outside the fire areas, but there are small groups in some of the affected protected areas that are very threatened, according to the Species Information Officer at WWF International.