sumatran rhino

Rewilding Sumatran Rhinos

Re:wild works to protect Sumatran rhinos and their dense forest habitat on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia. Critically Endangered Sumatran rhinos are now found only in small, isolated populations, which has made it hard for them to easily find each other to breed. There are not enough baby rhinos being born in the wild to keep the species alive, but conservationists are stepping in to help.

Under the direction of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry’s Sumatran Rhino Emergency Action Plan, Re:wild has joined forces with global and local partners under the Sumatran Rhino Survival Alliance to support the national Sumatran Rhino breeding program, which will relocate select rhinos to join a conservation breeding program. 

A Sumatran Rhino. (Photo courtesy of Bill Konstant)

Experts with the Sumatran Rhino Survival Alliance are carefully working to help move rhinos to Sumatran Rhino Sanctuaries where they can live in natural forest and breed under human care. Eventually, future generations of rhinos will return to forests that are capable of supporting larger populations of rhinos. The project, called Sumatran Rhino Rescue, is an ambitious effort. We are:

  • Establishing two new Sumatran Rhino sanctuaries in Indonesia, while also expanding the existing facility in Way Kambas National Park.

  • Searching for and rescuing as many rhinos as possible, relocating them to breeding facilities.

  • Incorporating the rhinos into a single conservation breeding program with high-quality veterinary and husbandry care.

A Sumatran Rhino. (Barney Long/Re:wild)

In addition to building a healthy population of rhinos at the sanctuaries, Re:wild helps efforts to protect rhinos in Sumatra’s forests from poaching. Through our partners International Rhino Foundation (IRF) and Yayasan Badak Indonesia (YABI), we support Rhino Protection Units (RPUs) that patrol and monitor the rhino population in Way Kambas National Park in close partnership with the government’s park rangers. Re:Wild also works with Forum Konservasi Leuser (FKL) in the Leuser Ecosystem to patrol and protect the rhinos here in close partnership with government rangers.

Top photo: A Sumatran Rhino, these Critically Endangered, forest-dwelling pachyderms only live on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. (Barney Long/Re:wild)


Wild Facts

  • The Sumatran Rhino is the closest living relative of the now extinct Woolly rhinos, which lived during the ice age.

  • The Sumatran Rhino is the smallest and hairiest of all rhino species.

  • It’s known as the “singing rhino” because of the wide range of vocalizations.

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There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the interrelated crises of wildlife extinctions, climate change and pandemics. Re:wild works with local and Indigenous communities, conservation partners, governments and others to solve some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. Our Sumatran Rhino conservation approaches include any combination of the following solutions:

Wildlife crime prevention

Developing community-led and owned prevention strategies that take into account the societal and cultural drivers of wildlife crime, and implementing systems and technology to stop poachers before a crime is even committed.

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conservation breeding, translocations and reintroductions

Creating insurance populations to prevent extinction and active management of wildlife populations to help restore them to healthy and self-sustainable numbers across their natural range.

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action funds

Re:wild’s funds are designed to address gaps in financing, kickstart careers, and leverage impact — to provide resources of all sizes to where they are most needed. As host to over 15 different funds, our goal is to enable the conservation community to protect and restore the wild in the most powerful ways possible.

The Plan

The Plan

Support the government of Indonesia’s Sumatran Rhino Emergency Action Plan alongside partners, which will relocate select rhinos to join an emergency conservation breeding program to restore wild populations.

Number of countries that have lost Sumatran Rhinos: 3

# of individuals:

Around 30

IUCN Red List Status:

Critically Endangered

Population trend:


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