Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Now or never: what will it take to save the Sumatran rhinoceros Dicerorhinus sumatrensis from extinction?

  • Abdul Wahab Ahmad Zafir (a1), Junaidi Payne (a2), Azlan Mohamed (a1), Ching Fong Lau (a1), Dionysius Shankar Kumar Sharma (a1), Raymond Alfred (a2), Amirtharaj Christy Williams (a3), Senthival Nathan (a4), Widodo S. Ramono (a5) and Gopalasamy Reuben Clements (a6)...
Abstract

In 1994 Alan Rabinowitz decried what he regarded as lackadaisical attempts by governments, NGOs and international funding agencies to conserve the Sumatran rhinoceros Dicerorhinus sumatrensis. Sixteen years on it is timely to evaluate whether his warnings were heeded. We review the current conservation status of D. sumatrensis throughout its range and the latest threats and challenges complicating efforts to conserve this species. Recent data from governments, NGOs and researchers indicate that the global population could be as low as 216, a decline from c. 320 estimated in 1995. Based on lessons learnt and expert opinions we call on decision makers to focus on two core strategies for conservation of D. sumatrensis: (1) the translocation of wild individuals from existing small, isolated or threatened forest patches into semi-in situ captive breeding programmes, and (2) a concomitant enhancement of protection and monitoring capacities in priority areas that have established these breeding facilities or have recorded relatively high population estimates and track encounter rates. At least USD 1.2 million is required to implement these strategies annually in four priority areas: Bukit Barisan Selatan and Way Kambas National Parks on Sumatra, and Danum Valley Conservation Area and Tabin Wildlife Reserve on Sabah. Given that conservation funds are rarely secure and D. sumatrensis is still in decline we call on potential donors to help secure and augment existing capacities of organizations in these four priority areas before committing resources to elucidate the status of the species in other areas such as Gunung Leuser and Taman Negara National Parks.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Now or never: what will it take to save the Sumatran rhinoceros Dicerorhinus sumatrensis from extinction?
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Now or never: what will it take to save the Sumatran rhinoceros Dicerorhinus sumatrensis from extinction?
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Now or never: what will it take to save the Sumatran rhinoceros Dicerorhinus sumatrensis from extinction?
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
WWF–Malaysia, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. E-mail ahmad.zafir@gmail.com
References
Hide All
Abdul Kadir, H. (2009) Current status and threats of Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) in Peninsular Malaysia. In Report on the Meeting for Conservation of Sumatran and Javan Rhinos in South-East Asia (eds Talukdar, B.K., Crosbie, K., Ellis, S., Ramono, W.S., Williams, A.C. & Sectionov, ), p. 8. Asian Rhino Specialist Group, Guwahati, India.
Abdullah, M.T., Zainuddin, Z.Z. & Suri, M.S.M. (1989) A review of the Sumatran Rhinoceros Conservation Programme and assessment of management alternatives for the future. In Proceedings of the International Conference on National Parks and Protected Areas, pp. 191201. Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Agil, M., Riyanto, M.A.C.T., Sumampau, T., Hodges, K. & van Strien, N.J. (2002) A program of managed breeding for the Sumatran rhinoceros at the Sumatran rhino sanctuary, Way Kambas National Park, Indonesia. In Proceedings of the International Elephant and Rhino Research Symposium (eds Schwammer, H.M., Foose, T.J., Fouraker, M. & Olson, D.), p. 303. Vienna, Austria.
Alfred, R. & Payne, J. (2005) A Survey of the Eastern Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis harrissoni) in the Greater Danum Area, Sabah, 5–19 May 2005. WWF–Malaysia, Sabah Wildlife Department and Yayasan Sabah Group, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
Anon. (2000) Captive programs. Asian Rhino, 3, 1418.
AP (Associated Press) (2009) Endangered Sumatran Rhino Dies at Cincinnati Zoo. Associated Press, 7 September 2009.
Boonratana, R. (1997) A Statewide Survey to Estimate the Distribution and Density of the Sumatran Rhinoceros, Asian Elephant and Banteng in Sabah, Malaysia. Wildlife Conservation Society, New York, USA.
BORA (Borneo Rhino Alliance) (2010) Http://www.borneorhinoalliance.org [accessed 24 October 2010].
Cheang, M. (2009) Reprieve for Rhinos. Http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2009/8/18/lifefocus/4387617&sec=lifefocus [accessed 10 April 2010].
Christy, B. (2010) Asian Wildlife Trade: The Kingpin. Http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/01/asian-wildlife/christy-text [accessed 14 April 2010].
Clements, R., Darmaraj, M.R., Ahmad Zafir, A.W., Venkataraman, A., Alfred, R., Payne, J. et al. . (2010) Trio under threat: can we secure the future of rhinos, elephants and tigers in Malaysia? Biodiversity and Conservation, 9, 11151136.
Corbett, G.B. & Hill, J.E. (1992) The Mammals of the Indomalayan Region: A Systematic Review. Oxford University Press, New York, USA.
Courchamp, F., Berec, L. & Gascoigne, J. (2008) Allee Effects in Ecology and Conservation. Oxford University Press, New York, USA.
Cranbrook, Earl of (2009) Late quaternary turnover of mammals in Borneo: the zooarchaeological record. Biodiversity and Conservation, 19, 373391.
Dinerstein, E. (2003) The Return of the Unicorns: The Natural History and Conservation of the Greater One-horned Rhinoceros. Columbia University Press, New York, USA.
DWNP (Department of Wildlife and National Parks) (2005) Peninsular Malaysia—Sumatran Rhinoceros Conservation Action Plan 2005. Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
DWNP (Department of Wildlife and National Parks) (2006) Sumatran Rhinoceros Factsheet. Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Flynn, R.W. & Abdullah, M.T. (1984) Distribution and status of the Sumatran rhinoceros in Peninsular Malaysia. Biological Conservation, 28, 253273.
Foose, T.J. (2006) International Studbook for Sumatran Rhino Dicerorhinus sumatrensis. International Rhino Foundation, Columbus, USA.
Foose, T.J. & van Strien, N. (1997) Asian Rhinos: Status Survey Conservation Action Plan. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, and Cambridge, UK.
Hance, J. (2010a) Pregnancy Gives New Hope for Rhino On-The-Brink of Extinction. Http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0218-hance_sumrhino.html [accessed 14 April 2010].
Hance, J. (2010b) Sumatran Rhino Loses Pregnancy: Conservationists Saddened but Remain Resolute. Http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0331-hance_ratu.html [accessed 27 October 2010].
Hubback, T. (1939) The Asiatic two-horned rhinoceros. Journal of Mammalogy, 20, 120.
IRF (International Rhino Foundation) (2010) Rare Rhino Pregnancy Gives Hope to Species: Andalas-Ratu Love Story Proves Conservation Efforts Can Work. Http://www.rhinos-irf.org/andalas-loves-ratu [accessed 14 April 2010].
Isnan, W.M., Subrata, D.D. & van Strien, N.J. (2006) Annual Report 2006. Indonesian Rhino Conservation Program, Bogor, Indonesia.
IUCN (2010) IUCN Red List of Threatened Species v. 2010.1. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. Http://www.iucnredlist.org [accessed 12 April 2010].
Johnson, C. (2006) Australia’s Mammal Extinctions: A 50,000 Year History. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Kawanishi, K. & Sunquist, M.E. (2004) Conservation status of tigers in a primary rainforest of Peninsular Malaysia. Biological Conservation, 120, 329344.
Kawanishi, K., Sunquist, M.E. & Abdul Malik, S. (2003) Rarity and possible new records of Sumatran rhinoceros in Taman Negara. Journal of Wildlife and Parks, 20, 125128.
Kinnaird, M.F., Sanderson, E.W., O’Brien, T.G., Wibisono, H.T. & Woolmer, G. (2003) Deforestation trends in a tropical landscape and implications for endangered large mammals. Conservation Biology, 17, 245257.
Kuppusamy, B. (2010) Tougher Wildlife Act not Enough, Say Activists. Http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=52982 [accessed 27 October 2010].
Linkie, M., Rood, E. & Smith, R.J. (2010) Modelling the effectiveness of enforcement strategies for avoiding tropical deforestation in Kerinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra. Biodiversity and Conservation, 19, 973984.
Maguire, L.A., Seal, U.S. & Brussard, P.F. (1987) Managing critically endangered species: the Sumatran rhino as a case study. In Viable Populations for Conservation (ed. Soule, M.E.), pp. 141158. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Medway, L. (1977) Mammals of Borneo: Field Keys and an Annotated Checklist. Monographs of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society No. 7. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Metcalfe, G.T.C. (1961) Rhinoceros in Malaya and their future. In Nature Conservation in Malaya (eds Wyatt-Smith, J. & Whycherlry, P.R.), pp. 183193. Malayan Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Milner-Gulland, E.J. & Leader-Williams, N. (1992) A model of incentives for the illegal exploitation of black rhinos and elephants: poaching pays in Luangwa Valley, Zambia. Journal of Applied Ecology, 29, 388401.
MOF (Ministry of Forestry) (2007) Strategic and Action Plan for the Conservation of Rhinos in Indonesia 2007–2017. Rhino century program, Ministry of Forestry, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Mohd. Khan, M.K. (1987) Distribution and population of the Sumatran rhinoceros Dicerorhinus sumatrensis in Peninsular Malaysia. Rimba Indonesia, 21, 7582.
Mohd. Khan, M.K. (1989) Asian Rhinos: An Action Plan for Their Conservation. IUCN Species Survival Commission, Gland, Switzerland.
Mohd. Khan, M.K., Elagupillay, S.T. & Zolkifli, Z. (1982) Species conservation priorities in the tropical rainforest of Peninsular Malaysia. In Species Conservation Priorities in the Forests of South-east Asia: Occasional Papers of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (eds Mittermeier, R.A. & Konstant, R.W.), pp. 915. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
NST (New Sabah Times) (2008) Sumatran Rhino Rescued. New Sabah Times, 24 August 2008.
Payne, J. (1990) The Distribution and Status of the Asian Two-Homed Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis harrissoni) in Sabah, Malaysia. WWF–Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Rabinowitz, A. (1995) Helping a species go extinct: the Sumatran rhino in Borneo. Conservation Biology, 9, 482488.
Schaffer, N.E., Agil, M. & Bosi, E. (2001) Utero-ovarian pathological complex of the Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis). In Abstracts of the International Elephant and Rhino Research Symposium (eds Schwammer, H.M., Foose, T.J., Fouraker, M. & Olson, D.), pp. 322. Vienna, Austria.
Stevens, W.E. (1968) The rare large mammals of Malaya. Malayan Nature Journal, 20, 117.
Talukdar, B.K., Crosbie, K., Ellis, S., Ramono, W.S., Williams, A.C. & Sectionov, (2009) Report on the Meeting for Conservation of Sumatran and Javan Rhino in South–East Asia. Asian Rhino Specialist Group, Guwahati, Assam, India.
Tan, C.L. (2003) Divided over Breeding Plan. Http://www.jphpk.gov.my/English/Nov03%2018D.htm [accessed 14 April 2010].
Traill, L.W., Bradshaw, C.J.A. & Brook, B.W. (2007) Minimum viable population size: a meta-analysis of 30 years of published estimates. Biological Conservation, 139, 159166.
Uryu, Y., Purastuti, E.P., Laumonier, Y., Setiabudi, A. & Stuwe, M. (2010) Sumatra Snapshots: 1985–2008–2023. The Past, Present, and Future of Sumatra’s Forests and Wildlife and What It Means for Our Climate. WWF–Indonesia Technical Report. Jakarta, Indonesia.
van Strien, N.J. (1974) Dicerorhinus sumatrensis (Fischer), the Sumatran or two-horned Asiatic rhinoceros: a study of literature. Mededelingen Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen, 74, 182.
van Strien, N.J. (1985) The Sumatran Rhinoceros (Fisher 1814) in the Gunung Leuser National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia: Its Distribution, Ecology and Conservation. Verlag Paul Perey, Hamburg, Germany.
van Strien, N.J. (2001) Conservation programs for Sumatran and Javan rhino in Indonesia and Malaysia. In Abstracts of the International Elephant and Rhino Research Symposium (eds Schwammer, H.M., Foose, T.J., Fouraker, M. & Olson, D.), Vienna, Austria.
YABI (Yayasan Badak Indonesia) (2009) Annual Report. Yayasan Badak Indonesia, Bogor, Indonesia.
Zainal Zahari, Z. (1995) Review of Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) population in Peninsular Malaysia. Journal of Wildlife and Parks, 14, 115.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Oryx
  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
  • URL: /core/journals/oryx
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed