Common Name: Javan Rhinoceros
Species: Rhinoceros sondaicus
Javan Rhino Taxonomy/Description
The Javan rhino's scientific name
is Rhinoceros soncaicus, which means "a single nose horn belonging to Sunda".
The Sunda Islands and Sunda Strait lie between Java and Sumatra, which is
the region the Javan rhino lives. The Javan rhinoceros is a member of
the rhino family, Rhinoceridae in the Mammalian Order of Perissodactyla. All
other living species of rhino are also members of Rhinoceridae. Other
Perissodactyls include tapirs and horses.
The Javan rhino is closely related to the Indian rhino, and both share the
same genus, Rhinoceros. Similarities between the two species are quite
obvious. Unlike the three other rhino species, the Javan rhino and Indian
rhino have one horn. The two African species (Black rhino and White rhino)
and the Sumatran rhino each have two horns. The Javan rhino, like the Indian
rhino, still has incisors, differing from the two African species, which
lack front teeth entirely. The Sumatran rhino retains its incisors and
canines. The Javan rhino also has skin folds like the Indian rhino, however
they are not as massive and pronounced as those of the Indian rhino. In
fact, the Indian rhino and Javan rhino are so similar in appearance, they
were once believed to be the same species!
The Javan rhino is smaller than the Indian rhino, ranging from
2,000-3,000lbs (900-1,400kg) and standing 5ft tall at the shoulder. Males
and females are approximately the same size.
Javan Rhino Habitat/Diet
The Javan rhino's range once extended throughout Southeast Asia, from
Bangladesh to Myanmar, and from southwest China to Indonesia. Unfortunately,
it is now found only in the Ujung Kulon National Park on the island of Java
in Indonesia and the Cat Tien Nature Reserve in Vietnam. The tall grasses
and reed beds of the lowland rainforests in these parks are preferred by the
Javan rhino. In these forests the Javan rhino browses mainly on saplings,
bushes, and fruits. It will occasionally graze as well. Javan rhinos feed
during the morning and evening hours.
Javan Rhino Behavior/Reproduction
Javan rhinos are primarily solitary animals, except for females with their
calves. Javan rhinos spend a large amount of time wallowing in water and
mud, to keep insects from biting their sensitive skin. No defined breeding
season has been determined. Competition for females is characterized by
males battling one another with their tusk-like incisors. The winner breeds
with the desired female. Gestation is 16 months long. Calves are precocial
at birth, walking shortly after. After two years they leave their mother,
beginning a solitary lifestyle. Females reach sexual maturity at 3-4 years
of age, with males sexually maturing at 6 years. It is estimated that Javan
rhinos live to about 40 years.
Javan Rhino Conservation
The Javan rhino is the most endangered large mammal on the planet. It is
threatened by deforestation and uncontrolled poaching for its horn. It is
estimated that fewer than 60 individuals remain alive today. To make matters
worse, this number is a total of two separate populations of Javan rhino,
which are separated by the Indian Ocean (Vietnamese Peninsula and Island of
Java). No captive breeding program for the Javan rhino exists - mainly
because there are no Javan rhinos in captivity. Despite the ever present
threat of poaching, the human use of Javan rhino habitat is of greater
concern. Javan rhinos have actually been observed living in upland
rainforests at higher elevations than ever before, a possible result of
human encroachment. Consequences of such a displacement could result in
Javan rhino deaths. The Javan rhino's habitat must be preserved if the
species is to survive.