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All five rhino species are threatened with extinction: Africa’s black rhinos are critically endangered, with a population under 5,000. The 3,000 one-horned rhinos of India and Nepal are endangered, while Southeast Asia’s Sumatran and Javan rhinos number only in the hundreds and tens, respectively and are also critically endangered. At around 20,000, the southern white rhino is most numerous, with the vast majority living in South Africa.

Although habitat loss is an important consideration, the main threat to rhinos is poaching. Rhino horn is a highly valued component of Traditional Chinese Medicine, practiced in China, Vietnam and other parts of East Asia. Hundreds of rhinos are killed illegally for their horns every year.

HSI is working to improve international and domestic laws and regulations, to increase enforcement of existing protective measures, and to convince consumers of Traditional Chinese Medicine that the use of rhino horn is ineffective and unnecessary and is threatening the survival of these fascinating animals.


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