Threats to Asian rhinos
The greatest threat by far to Asian rhino populations is poaching.
Although there is no scientific proof of its medical value, rhino horn is highly prized in traditional Asian medicine, where it is ground into a fine powder or manufactured into tablets as a treatment for a variety of illnesses such as nosebleeds, strokes, convulsions, and fevers.
As a result, poachers continue to kill the animals to take the horn, despite increased surveillance and protection.
Greater one-horned rhino
Conservation efforts have seen the number of greater one-horned rhinos grow from 600 to over 3,000 since 1975. At the same time, tree growth has reduced the rhinos’ grassland habitat, and the human population has also grown. This has led to conflict between rhinos and people over the remaining available non-forest areas.
In this reduced living space, rhinos have destroyed farm crops and caused some human casualties, and humans have retaliated against the animals.
Sumatran and Javan rhinos
The same problem exists for the other two Asian rhino species.
The issue leading to conflict with humans is that land-clearing is reducing the rhinos’ tropical forest habitat.
This habitat loss not only reduces the available living space for rhinos, but also isolates and fragments rhino herds, making reproduction and genetic mixing difficult to impossible.