Sumatran rhinoceros female eating leaves, Way Kambas National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia
© Cyril Ruoso/Minden Picture
On the edge of extinction. Endangered Species Day
Sumatran rhinos like this one were once plentiful across the forests and swamps of Southeast Asia. But there are thought to be fewer than 80 alive today, surviving only on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo. Logging and hunting have led to their inclusion on the ‘red list’ of more than 42,100 critically endangered species. This one is pictured in Way Kambas National Park, Sumatra, where a rhino sanctuary is home to a tiny population and is the center of a breeding and research program.
Endangered Species Day highlights the thousands of animals and plants under threat of extinction, as well as conservation success stories. Humpback whales, gray wolves, tigers, and bald eagles have all seen population increases, thanks to conservation efforts. It’s now 50 years since the US passed the Endangered Species Act, a powerful wildlife conservation law. But while it is said to have saved 99 percent of species it protects, the challenges remain — habitat loss, invasive species, and climate change are among ongoing threats. The work continues to bring more animals and plants back from the brink.