Greater one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis), Javan rhino (R. sondaicus), Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)
Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannahs and shrublands, to tropical moist forests
Vulnerable to Critically Endangered
Mysterious and very low in numbers
Historically hunted for their horn, a prized ingredient in traditional Asian medicines, and devastated by the destruction of their lowland forest habitat, Asian rhino populations are now distressingly small.
These animals are among the world’s most endangered. One species numbers no more than 50 individuals, while some subspecies number just a few.
Throughout their range, their habitat continues to dwindle fast due to illegal logging and other human pressures, and the threat of poaching is ever-present.
Greater one-horned rhino
Its original range extended from Pakistan all the way through India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Myanmar. However in 1975, only 600 remained.
Decades of conservation efforts saw the population rise to 2,575 individuals by 2007, and a reclassification from endangered to vulnerable. Thanks in part to WWF's range expansion and translocation programmes, today there are more than 2,900 of the animals. When given sufficient habitat, rhinos will breed and increase in number.
The species is found in the Terai Arc Landscape of India and Nepal and the grasslands of Assam and north Bengal, northeast India.
Also known as the lesser one-horned rhino, the species historically roamed from north-eastern India through Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, and the islands of Sumatra and Java in Indonesia.
Today, no more than 50 individuals are thought to survive in the wild. There are none in captivity.
Only one subspecies remains and is restricted to Ujung Kulon National Park, Java, Indonesia. The Vietnamese subspecies of Javan rhino has been pronounced extinct after the last remaining individual was found dead with its horn removed.
Also called the lesser two-horned rhino or hairy rhino, the species once ranged from north-eastern India through Indochina, Malaysia, and the islands of Sumatra in Indonesia and Borneo, which is shared by Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Its numbers are thought to have at least halved between 1985 and 1995.
Today, the population is estimated at fewer than 200 individuals, located in small pockets of Sumatra, peninsular Malaysia, and Borneo. The Borneo population is considered a distinct subspecies, numbering perhaps fewer than 25 animals.