Sumatran Rhinoceros

The only Asian rhinoceros with 2 horns

The Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), is the smallest existing rhinoceros species, the only Asian one with 2 horns, as well as the only with the fur which allows it to survive at very high altitudes in Borneo and Sumatra.

It is the last surviving species in the same group as the extinct Woolly Rhinoceros.

Unique among rhinos, the Sumatran rhinoceros is covered with a conspicuous coat of coarse, reddish brown hair.

The leathery hide is gray-brown in colour, and is folded into armour-like plates.

The body is relatively short and stocky, and the pillar-like legs are short. Its body length is from 2 to 3m and stands 1 to 1.5m at the shoulders. A mature rhino weighs from 600 to 950kg.

The Sumatran rhino is a browser and feeds on fruit (especially wild mangoes and figs), leaves, twigs, and bark. Sometimes the animal will venture into cultivated crops to eat. On a given day, this rhino may eat more than 50 kg of food.

The Sumatran rhino tends to return to favorite spots such as mud wallows and salt licks.

The Sumatran rhinoceros is the only Asian rhinoceros with 2 horns and they are perched on a roughened area of the skull (rather than being "rooted" in the skull).

It is also the only hairy rhino left in the world.

Your chances of seeing one in the wild
The Sumatran rhinoceros as a species is classified as critically endangered by the IUCN (1996).

The Sumatran rhino also competes with the Javan rhino as being the most endangered rhino species. While surviving in greater numbers than the Javan rhino, Sumatran rhinos are more threatened by poaching. There is no indication that the population is stabilizing and just one captive female has reproduced in the last 15 years.

Some specialists estimate that it could be extinct in Malaysia by 2020.

 / ©: WWF-Malaysia / Raymond ALFRED
First-ever camera trap photo of a Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) in the wild on the island of Borneo, 15 April 2006.
© WWF-Malaysia / Raymond ALFRED

WWF's work

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Donate to WWF

Your support will help us build a future where humans live in harmony with nature.

Enter Yes if you accept the terms and conditions
Enter Yes if you accept the terms and conditions