Sumatra is facing the crisis of deforestation. Because of this, there are many vulnerable, endangered, and critically endangered species in the country. Within the Sunderland Biodiversity Hotspot, you’ll find at least 13 critically endangered species. Often, when you hear about an endangered Sumatran species, you’re going to hear something about rhinoceros,elephantst, orangutan ortigersr. All of these Sumatran species are endangered, and they are highly popularized and politicized. But there are one lesser-known Sumatran species that you probably haven’t heard of, although it’s considered one of the rarest of its kind in the world: the Sumatran Striped Rabbit.
Quick facts about the Sumatran striped rabbit
|Species Name:||Nasolagus netscheri|
|Life span:||3-8 years|
|Shape:||16 inches in length|
Sumatran Striped Rabbit Overview
Rabbits are rather elusive creatures, but none are harder to spot than the Sumatran striped rabbit. This species is the rarest rabbit in the world, and it is one of only two living members of the Nesolgus genus, which sets it apart from most other rabbits you may know.
The Annamite striped rabbit is another Nesolgus rabbit, which is similar in appearance to the Sumatran striped rabbit, although genetic studies suggest that the two species diverged about eight million years ago.
Little is known about the Sumatran striped rabbit because they are rarely seen. 1998, this rare species was last seen in 1972. Before this, none had been seen since 1916. This species was long believed to be extinct until raw luck proved otherwise when a camera trap photographed one by accident.
Three surveys were conducted between 1927 and 1998 to search for evidence of this rare creature, however, nothing was found. Although there were sightings in 2007 and 2011, he was once again caught on camera. It wasn’t until 2008 that one was seen in person when scientists from Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park happened upon one and were able to photograph it.
How much do Sumatran striped rabbits cost?
Rabbits make excellent pets that are easy to care for. However, Sumatran striped rabbits are too rare to even consider domestication. Even if you could buy one, due to their incredible rarity, the cost would be astronomical. As a critically endangered animal, it is completely illegal to own a Sumatran striped rabbit.
characteristic behavior and temperament
Because these rabbits are rarely seen, little is known about their characteristic behavior. Although it can be assumed that they are similar to other rabbit species in several important ways, this is not known for certain.
Throwing an additional curveball into the mix is the fact that this species is one of only two in the world that belong to the genus Nesolgus, meaning there aren’t any members of the family to compare to.
What we do know is that Nesolagus rabbits are nocturnal. They sleep during the day, usually buried in burrows dug by other animals.
Appearance and varieties
Although there have been only a handful of sightings of the Sumatran striped rabbit over the past hundred years, they have been captured in photographs, giving us a good idea of its appearance. These rabbits are about the same size as a standard European cottontail. However, their coats are quite different, with distinct brown stripes running down the body and face. These stripes act as a type of camouflage, allowing the rabbit to blend in with its rainforest surroundings.
Of course, there have only been a few sightings as we have determined that the Sumatran striped rabbit is not extinct. While there may be variations in appearance that we don’t know about, for now, all we know is their approximate size and their striped appearance.
Where have Sumatran striped rabbits been seen?
As the name implies, the Sumatran striped rabbit is native to Sumatra, one of the Indonesian islands in the Indian Ocean, south of Thailand. Even in its homeland, the species is incredibly rare, with only a few sightings recorded over the past century.
So far, the Sumatran striped rabbit has been observed in only two national parks in Sumatra, both of which are located in the Sunderland biodiversity hotspot.
In 2007 and 2008, scientists photographed the elusive species in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. In 2012, researchers at the University of Delaware, while attempting to locate a rare Sumatran leopard, accidentally captured pictures of a Sumatran striped rabbit on their camera traps in the same national park.
The largest national park in Sumatra is Kerinci Seblat. Although no photographs of the Sumatran striped rabbit have been taken here, scientists at the national park have seen the rabbits on several occasions. Currently, studies are underway in this area to learn more about this rare and, hopefully, recoverable species.
How rare is the Sumatran striped rabbit?
It is difficult to determine exactly how many of these rare rabbits live on Earth. This species was considered extinct for a long time. Once observed, they received critically endangered conservation status.
Between 1880 and 1916, about a dozen museum specimens of the species were collected. After the last one was found in 1916, it would be 56 years before another was seen in 1972. It would be another 26 years between that sighting and the next, during which the rabbit was labeled as extinct.
While we now know that there are many living members of the species, we have no idea how many. Efforts are ongoing to learn more about the species, but for now, we can only guess how many individuals of the rarest rabbit on Earth still exist.
What do Sumatran striped rabbits eat?
Although we have not been able to observe Sumatran striped rabbits in the wild to learn about their grazing habits, some information is known about the dietary practices of the Nesolgus genus, to which the Sumatran striped rabbit belongs.
Members of this genus feed on the leaves of small plants. They also eat succulent stalks and other leaves at ground level. It is believed that they also eat other fruits and vegetables, as captive neologist rabbits have in the past.
What is threatening the Sumatran striped rabbit?
In Sumatra and most of Indonesia, forests are declining. Because of this, many species are becoming endangered and facing the threat of extinction. For the most part, it’s the big and famous animals that get all the attention. This includes rhinos, elephants, leopards, tigers, and more. But the smaller Sumatran striped rabbit hasn’t received much attention if any at all.
This species of rabbit is facing the same problems as other endangered species in the same region. They are quickly losing habitat to deforestation, leaving them with nowhere to go, and forcing too many animals into an area that is too small for them all.
Fortunately for the Sumatran striped rabbit, the threat of other species means an opportunity for this rabbit species to thrive and multiply once again. With fewer predators, these rabbits have a better chance of survival, which is why we’ve seen more of them in recent years.
Summary of the Sumatran Striped Rabbit
When you think of animals that are endangered and facing extinction, some people think of the smallest animals, such as the Sumatran striped rabbit. But the ecosystem and food chain depend on every living being from small to large. Even small critters like rabbits play an important role, and if they disappear, other species are soon to follow.
The Sumatran striped rabbit is the rarest in the world, and one of only two surviving members of the genus Nesolgus. They were thought to be extinct for many years until camera traps captured their photographs by chance. Today, their numbers are still small, but we are seeing them more frequently. It is hoped that one day this species will once again flourish.