Javan Rhino


Common Name: Javan Rhinoceros
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Rhinoceridae
Genus: 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.


Content provided by Canisius College students under the direction of Michael Noonan, PhD.