Rhinoceros sondaicus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Perissodactyla Rhinocerotidae

Scientific Name: Rhinoceros sondaicus Desmarest, 1822
Common Name(s):
English Javan Rhinoceros
French Rhinocéros de la Sonde
Spanish Rinoceronte de Java
Taxonomic Notes: There are three recognized subspecies: Rhinoceros sondaicus sondaicus, Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus, and Rhinoceros sondaicus inermis (Extinct).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered C2a(i); D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): van Strien, N.J., Steinmetz, R., Manullang, B., Sectionov, Han, K.H., Isnan, W., Rookmaaker, K., Sumardja, E., Khan, M.K.M. & Ellis, S.
Reviewer(s): van Strien, N.J. & Talukdar, B.K. (Asian Rhino Red List Authority)
This species is listed as Critically Endangered because there are less than 50 mature individuals; and because there fewer than 250 mature individuals, with no subpopulation greater than 50 individuals, and it is experiencing a continuing decline.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Javan Rhino formerly occurred from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Viet Nam, and probably southern China through peninsular Malaya to Sumatra and Java (Grubb, 2005). The species' precise historical range is indeterminate, as early accounts failed to distinguish rhinos to specific level, due to partial sympatry with the other two Asian rhino species (Rhinoceros unicornis and Dicerorhinus sumatrensis). Beginning in the middle of the nineteenth century, the species was extirpated from most of its historical range, and currently occurs only in two small isolated areas. The last records of Javan Rhino vary, from 1920 in Myanmar, to 1932 in Malaysia, and 1959 on Sumatra (Indonesia) (Simon and Geroudet, 1970).

The subspecies Rhinoceros sondaicus inermis formerly occurred in northeastern India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, but is now extinct (Nowak, 1999).

The subspecies Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus formerly occurred in Viet Nam, Lao PDR, Cambodia, and eastern Thailand. Currently, this subspecies is restricted to the area in and around the Cat Loc part (Dong Nai province) of the Cat Tien National Park in Viet Nam (Schenkel and Schenkel, 1969).

The subspecies Rhinoceros sondaicus sondaicus formerly occurred from Thailand through Malaysia, to the islands of Java and Sumatra (Indonesia). The only remaining population occurs on the Ujung Kulon Peninsula (Hoogerwerf, 1970), which forms the westernmost extremity of the island of Java. The Javan population of this subspecies has been restricted to this area since around the 1930s.

This is a lowland species that typically occurs up to 600 m (Sectionov and Waladi pers. comm.), but has been recorded above 1,000 m (Nowak, 1999).
Countries occurrence:
Indonesia; Viet Nam
Regionally extinct:
Bangladesh; Cambodia; China; India; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia); Myanmar; Thailand
Additional data:
Number of Locations:2
Upper elevation limit (metres):1000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:An estimated 40-60 animals live in the area on the western tip of Java in Ujung Kulon National Park. Another smaller population occurs in and around the Cat Loc part (Dong Nai province) of the Cat Tien National Park in of Viet Nam, with maybe as few as six individuals remaining (R. Steinmetz, M. Khan bin Momin Khan pers. comm.). These populations have not significantly declined over the last few decades, and the current trend is not known (Sectionov and Waladi pers. comm.), but no breeding has been observed in the Cat Loc population for many years (M. Khan bin Momin Khan pers. comm.). There are no animals currently in captivity, and a total of only 22 individuals have ever been known to exist in captivity (Rookmaaker et al., 1998).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:46-66
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Javan Rhinoceros currently occurs in lowland tropical rainforest areas, especially in the vicinity of water (Schenkel and Schenkel, 1969). The species formerly occurred in more open mixed forest and grassland and on high mountains. Because of its rarity, little is known about its preferred habitat, but it is certainly not naturally restricted to dense tropical forest water (Schenkel and Schenkel, 1969). Little is known about the species' biology and the habitats in which the two remaining populations are found may not be optimal.

The home range size of females is probably no more than 500 ha, while males wonder over larger areas, with likely limited dispersal distance. The species is generally solitary, except for mating pairs and mothers with young (Nowak, 1999). Its life history characteristics are not well known, with longevity estimated at about 30-40 years, gestation length of approximately 16 months (as with other rhino species), and age at sexual maturity estimated at 5-7 years for females and 10 years for males (Nowak, 1999; International Rhino Foundation website, ( 2006).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Over-hunting for its horn and other medicinal products has driven this formerly widespread species to the brink of extinction.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The cause of population decline is mainly attributable to the excessive demand for rhino horn and other products for Chinese and allied medicine systems (Foose and van Strien 1997). The bulk of the remaining population occurs as a single population within a national park and the population size in Ujung Kulon National Park is probably limited to the effective carrying capacity of the area (around 50 animals). One possible threat to this population is disease. In addition, such a small population faces a constant threat from poachers, although there is evidence that current poaching levels are under control (Sectionov and Waladi pers. comm.). The Cat Loc population may be too small to be viable, and no breeding has been observed for many years, and it is possible that the animals are too old to breed. The population is so small that all the animals could be of the same sex.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is legally protected in all range states. The species has been on CITES Appendix I since 1975.

A Rhino Protection Unit (RPU) has been established for the protection of this species on Java (Sectionov and Waladi pers. comm.). It occurs in two protected areas: Ujung Kulon National Park on Java and the Cat Loc part (Dong Nai province) of the Cat Tien National Park in Viet Nam.

There is an urgent need to review the feasibility of a reintroduction/translocation program, since the only known viable population occurs in a geographically restricted area of Java. There is also a need to survey parts of its historical range for the very remote possibility that small remnant populations exist, especially in parts of Lao PDR or Cambodia. The population in Cat Loc is probably no longer viable, and requires intensive management measures in order to survive (perhaps including captive breeding and re-introductions).

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable  major importance:No
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.2. Trade management
3. Species management -> 3.2. Species recovery
3. Species management -> 3.3. Species re-introduction -> 3.3.1. Reintroduction
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.1. Captive breeding/artificial propagation
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.2. Genome resource bank
4. Education & awareness -> 4.1. Formal education
4. Education & awareness -> 4.2. Training
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.1. International level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:Yes
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:Yes
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Past, Unlikely to Return    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing:Past, Unlikely to Return    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Past, Unlikely to Return    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.1. Species Action/Recovery Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Medicine - human & veterinary
 International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation, Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia. 2007. Strategy and Action Plan for the Conservation of Rhinos in Indonesia. Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation, Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia, Jakarta.

Foose, T. J. and van Strien, N. (eds). 1997. Asian Rhinos. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Asian Rhino Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland.

Griffiths, M. 1993. The Javan Rhino of Ujung Kulon: An investigation of its population and ecology through camera trapping. PHPA/WWF, Jakarta, Indonesia.

Grubb, P. 2005. Artiodactyla. In: D.E. Wilson & D.M. Reeder (ed.), Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed), pp. 637-722. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA.

Haryono, M., Sugarjito, J., Giao, P. M., Dung, V. V. and Dang, N. X. 1993. Report of the Javan Rhino Survey in Vietnam. WWF, Washington, D. C., USA.

Hoogerwerf, A. 1970. Udjung Kulon. The Land of the Last Javan Rhinoceros. E.J. Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Khan bin Momin Khan, M. 1989. Asian Rhinos: An Action Plan for Their Conservation. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Nowak, R.M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA and London, UK.

Rookmaaker, L. C. 1980. The distribution of the rhinoceros in eastern India, Bangladesh, China, and the Indo-Chinese region. Zoologische Anzeiger 205(3,4): 253-268.

Rookmaaker, L. C., Jones, M. L., Kloes, H. G. and Reynolds, R. J. 1998. The rhinoceros in captivity: a list of 2439 rhinoceroses kept from Roman times to 1994 [with special assistance by Marvin L. Jones, Heinz-Georg Klos, Richard J Reynolds III]. SPB Academic Publishing, The Hague.

Santiapillai, C., Sukohadi, W. and Darmadja, B. P. 1990. Status of the Javan rhino in Ujung Kulon National Park. Tiger Paper 17(2): 1-8.

Schenkel, R. and Schenkel-Hulliger, L. 1969. The Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus Desm.) in Udjung Kulon Nature Reserve: its ecology and behaviour. Field Study 1967 and 1968. Acta Tropica 26: 97-134.

Schenkel, R., Schenkel-Hulliger, L. and Ramono, W. S. 1978. Area management for the Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus Desm.): a pilot study. The Malayan Nature Journal 31: 253-275.

Seal, U. S. and Foose, T. J. 1989. Javan Rhinoceros Population Viability Analysis. IUCN/SSC Captive (Conservation) Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG), Apple Valley, Minnesota, USA.

Simon, N. and Geroudet, P. 1970. Last Survivors - The Natural History of Animals in Danger of Extinction. The World Publishing Co., New York, NY, USA.

Sody, H. J. V. 1959. Das Javanische Nashorn, Rhinoceros sondaicus, historisch und biologisch. Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde 24(3,4): 109-240.

Van Strien, N. J. and Sadjudin, H. R. 1995. Ujung Kulon National Park: Javan Rhino - Current Status, Protection, and Conservation. AsRSG Report. IUCN/SSC Asian Rhino Specialist Group, Bogor, Indonesia.

Citation: van Strien, N.J., Steinmetz, R., Manullang, B., Sectionov, Han, K.H., Isnan, W., Rookmaaker, K., Sumardja, E., Khan, M.K.M. & Ellis, S. 2008. Rhinoceros sondaicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T19495A8925965. . Downloaded on 16 July 2018.
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