Toggle Nav

Javan Rhino

Facts

  • Status
    Critically Endangered
  • Population
    58–68
  • Scientific Name
    Rhinoceros sondaicus
  • Height
    4.6–5.8 feet
  • Weight
    1,984 - 5,071 pounds
  • Length
    10–10.5 feet
  • Habitats
    Tropical forests
Population distribution of the Javan Rhino

Population distribution of the Javan Rhino (Click for larger view)

Javan rhinos are the most threatened of the five rhino species, with only 58-68 individuals that live only in Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia. Javan rhinos once lived throughout northeast India and Southeast Asia. Vietnam’s last Javan rhino was poached in 2010.

This species is a dusky grey color and has a single horn of up to about 10 inches. Its skin has a number of loose folds, giving the appearance of armor plating. The Javan rhino is very similar in appearance to the closely-related greater one-horned rhinoceros, but has a much smaller head and less apparent skin folds.

WWF’s two-part plan to save the Javan rhino

WWF’s approach is based in the fact that when geographically bound rhino populations reach the limit of numbers their habitat can support, reproduction drops.
Javan Rhino

Why They Matter

  • The population in Ujung Kulon National Park represents the only hope for the survival of a species that is on the brink of extinction. Until the late 19th century and early 20th century, Javan rhinos existed from northeast India and the Sunderbans , throughout mainland Southeast Asia, and on the island of Sumatra. If we lose the population in Java, the entire species will disappear.

Threats

  • Population 58–68
  • Extinction Risk Critically Endangered
    1. EX
      Extinct

      No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died

    2. EW
      Extinct in the Wild

      Known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalised population

    3. CR
      Critically Endangered

      Facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the Wild

    4. EN
      Endangered

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    5. VU
      Vulnerable

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    6. NT
      Near Threatened

      Likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future

    7. LC
      Least Concern

      Does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, or Near Threatened

Javan rhinos are found in only one protected area in the world. The biology of the species is poorly understood, but we are starting to learn more about the species ecology and behavior thanks to very intensive monitoring of the population. They are extremely vulnerable to extinction due to natural catastrophes, habitat loss, diseases, poaching, and potential inbreeding.

Illegal Wildlife Trade

Javan rhinos were killed by trophy hunters during colonial times. They were also killed as agricultural pests and for their horn, a highly prized commodity in traditional Asian medicine. Poaching remains an ever-present threat.

Reduced Genetic Diversity

The small size of the Javan rhino population is a cause for concern. Low genetic diversity and inbreeding could make it difficult for the long-term survival of the species.

Natural Disasters

The coastal Ujung Kulon National Park is highly vulnerable to tsunamis, and a major explosion of the nearby Anak Krakatau volcano could easily wipe out most life in the protected area. Rising sea levels because of climate change also threaten the park.

Arenga Palm

The Arenga palm has overtaken parts of the park, reducing natural forage and habitat quality.

Disease

In recent years four rhinos, including one young adult female, are thought to have died from disease, probably transmitted to wild cattle in the park and subsequently to the rhinos.

Habitat Degradation

People living near the park are encroaching on and degrading crucial rhino habitat. Important economic development near the park, including from (eco)tourism, risks further encroachment into the park.

What WWF Is Doing

Javan rhino

Reinvigorating Existing Habitat

The rhino’s current range within Ujung Kulon National Park is believed to have reached its carrying capacity—the maximum number of rhinos the habitat can support before the growth rate slows. To increase the size and quality of the habitat and ensure a growing population, WWF plans to remove the Arenga palm tree, which has squeezed out the rhino’s native food plants in 6,178 acres of former habitat within the park. Extraction of the palm within the park would be followed by active restoration of other natural vegetation and food plants for rhinos over the next five years. 

Establishing a Second Population

To reduce the likelihood of extinction in the event of a major natural disaster in Ujung Kulon National Park, WWF and partners are working to establish a second population of Javan rhinos. We’ve identified a potential site for the second population. Next steps include conducting a feasibility study of the area, setting up protected area management systems, and working with communities in the buffer-zone to prevent encroachment. WWF will also support scientific research to guide these conservation and management strategies.

Protecting Rhinos from Man-made Threats

Effective protection of the world’s only remaining Javan rhino population is critical to ensuring the species’ survival. WWF will continue our support for rhino protection patrols in Ujung Kulon National Park and work with communities who live in the park’s buffer zone to eliminate human encroachment into the Javan rhino’s limited habitat and poaching.

Experts

Related Species