Endangered Species of the Week: Javan rhinoceros
Species: Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus)
Status: Critically Endangered (CR)
Interesting Fact: Rhino horn is not made of bone, but keratin, the same substance that forms nails and hair.
The prehistoric-looking Javan rhinoceros is one of the world’s rarest large mammals. This amazing species has a single horn and an armour-plated appearance caused by the deep folds of hairless skin. Little is known of this exceptionally rare mammal. It is mainly a browser of leaves, twigs, fruits and shoots and often breaks saplings down to access food. The rate of reproduction in this species is relatively slow; females give birth to a single young every one to three years, after a presumed gestation of 15 to 16 months, as in other rhinos.
Habitat loss and poaching for its horn have played a major role in the decline of the Javan rhino, which, until recently, existed in just two populations, one in Vietnam and one on the island of Java. The last rhino in Vietnam has recently been killed by poachers, leaving this species extinct in Vietnam, and there are fears it may be too late to save the remaining 50 or so individuals left on Java.
Find out more about the Javan rhinoceros on the EDGE website.
Becky Moran, ARKive Species Text Author