Sumatran and Javan Rhino Team

Project Partners

International Rhino Foundation, CeCe Sieffert and Susie Ellis


The EWCL Indonesian Rhino Project, in partnership with the International Rhino Foundation (IRF), Sumatran Rhino Survival Alliance, Yayasan Badak Indonesia (YABI), Way Kambas National Park, and National Geographic Society, has developed and funded a toolkit that supports Sumatran Rhino Conservation. The toolkit includes a short educational film about Sumatran rhinos, an online quiz geared towards finding your inner Sumatran rhino, digital content that can be used on social media outlets, as well as an in-person workshop and supplies geared towards a habitat restoration project. The purpose of this toolkit is to develop a sense of pride for the efforts of local people to preserve and support their natural resources. The greater public will learn more about these recovery efforts and the vital work these villages are doing to conserve the rhinos. The Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is the most critically endangered of all rhino species. Fewer than 80 Sumatran rhinos remain in the wild in several small, highly fragmented populations. In 2018, the Sumatran Rhino Alliance was formed between the Government of Indonesia and relevant NGOs to create a multi-pronged approach to saving the species. These toolkits will be beneficial and helpful in assisting with Sumatran Rhino conservation efforts, and if COVID 19 restrictions allow us, we still hope to host the in-person workshop to engage the local communities surrounding Way Kambas National Park in 2021.

Sumatran and Javan Rhino


    The Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders Indonesian Rhino Project adapted and changed over the course of the extended two-year project. Initially, our team set out to host a conservation workshop for local Indonesian government officials, known as Bupati, with jurisdictions surrounding the last Sumatran rhino habitats in Sumatra. At the end of 2019, through conversations with our project partner, International Rhino Foundation (IRF), it was determined that our efforts would be best suited to engage local communities surrounding Way Kambas National Park. This national park is home to some of the last remaining wild Sumatran rhinos and the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS), a facility currently housing a number of rhinos in an insurance population. The National Park and IRF staff have recently launched new collaborative efforts to restore rhino habitat and establish browse farms for feeding rhinos in the insurance population. Inov Sectionov, the Indonesian Program Coordinator for IRF, has been integral in connecting us to other partners and providing us with the specific information needed to move forward and succeed. This program model encourages local villagers to get involved with these efforts by providing economic incentives, including the opportunity to grow rhino browse seedlings in their own yard, to be harvested and purchased by SRS staff. Our team decided to gear our efforts towards promoting and encouraging more locals to participate in these programs, with the goal to see a 25% increase in new participants. This opportunity allowed the EWCL team to collaborate with members of the Sumatran Rhino Survival Alliance (SRS Alliance), working directly with IRF Executive Director, Nina Fascione, Deputy Director, CeCe Seiffert, and IRF Indonesian Program Coordinator, Inov Sectionov.

    Our team explored the work IRF and the National Park staff are currently doing within local communities. Our Indonesian EWCL teammate, Indah Sartika Sari, initially traveled to attend a meeting with a Community Specialist of the National Park, Yanto, in the Fall of 2019. Since that meeting, he has been an essential contributor to our project. Currently, Yanto manages 30 farmers, each piloting new IRF/National Park habitat restoration programs, including seedling propagation for rhino browse & fruit tree community gardens. Additionally, IRF has ten families engaged in the pilot project to grow ficus browse for the SRS rhinos in their home gardens. 

    We hoped to see a 25% increase in project participants through the development and implementation of an in-person community workshop and distribution of educational marketing materials. With the challenges COVID19 presented us, the workshop has been postponed, with the hope that it can be conducted in late 2021. The team has focused on developing the virtual and physical educational materials to support IRF’s Sumatran rhino efforts in the interim. To do this, we created print media in the form of flyers, pamphlets, stickers, and posters that will be strategically distributed across the target villages. Keeping in mind the cultural differences across the 40 villages surrounding Way Kambas, we developed a strategy for community conservation engagement, providing a variety of educational materials in a toolkit that will be provided to our project partner. Seven villages currently have active members in these projects, and we aim to increase community participation in the program. If proven successful with our target audience, some of these materials may also be shared or adapted for communities adjacent to a proposed secondary Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary site in Gunung Leuser National Park of northern Sumatra. 

    Working with International Rhino Foundation and other partners, we have used existing video content from previous projects to create a short educational film about Sumatran rhinos. We intend to produce additional video content promoting rhino conservation and community participation in the IRF/National park habitat restoration and browse growing programs. In the future, we hope to send our filmmaker, Alex Goetz, to the SRS to capture new footage of the rhinos and the locals participating in the habitat and restoration efforts. These videos help define the conservation situation of Sumatran rhinos, illustrate the efforts to conserve the species through the breeding management at the SRS and highlight the community’s involvement in the efforts. They will also serve as a primary resource in the educational toolkit, creating pride for local people’s efforts to preserve and support their natural resources. The greater public will learn more about these recovery efforts and the critical work these villages are doing to conserve the rhinos. 

    In addition, we developed an engaging personality quiz with the help of a web developer to “Find Your Inner Sumatran Rhino.” This fun and informative personality quiz will be integrated into IRF’s new website and will launch in 2021. The quiz will be used to promote the conservation of the species in the hopes quiz takers make an emotional connection and/or donation to support their rhino. We aim to drive higher traffic to the IRF website for the public to learn more about the work being done to protect and save the Sumatran Rhino. 


    Rhino seedling project poster


    Rhino seedling project_eng



    sumatran rhino poster.


    community planting poster - eng



    community planting poster


    Sumatran Rhino illustration


    International Rhino Foundation (IRF) - Sincere thanks to our chief project partner for providing invaluable support and resources

    • Nina Fascione, Executive Director 
    • Susie Ellis, former Executive Director
    • CeCe Seiffert, Deputy Director
    • Inov Sectionov, Indonesian Program Coordinator
    • Christopher Whitlatch, Development Director
    • Stacy Strother, Communications Associate

    Sumatran Rhino Survival Alliance 

    • The Government of Indonesia
    • International Rhino Foundation
    • IUCN Species Survival Commission 
    • National Geographic Society
    • Global Wildlife Conservation 
    • WWF

    Additional strategic & local partners of the Alliance include:

    • The Cincinnati Zoo
    • Save the Rhino International
    • Zoological and Botanical Garden Stuttgart, Wilhelma
    • WWF Indonesia
    • Forum Konservasi Leuser
    • Yayasan Badak Indonesia

    Yayasan Badak Indonesia (YABI)

    • Widodo Ramono, Executive Director
    • Sumadi Hasmaran, Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary Manager

    Way Kambas National Park 

    • Subakir, Director of Way Kambas NP
    • Yanto, Community Specialist of Way Kambas NP

    National Geographic Society  

    • Colby Bishop

    Contracted Supporters

    • Andreea Borcea, Dia Creative, web development
    • Lucas Stall, Video scriptwriter

    Pro Bono Project support

    Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL) Sumatran Rhino Project Group 

    • Alex Goetz, Running Wild Media
    • Indah Sari, MSc Candidate, formerly employed by Planet Indonesia
    • Jenna Duarte, Intertwined Conservation Corporation & San Diego Zoo Safari Park
    • Justin Birkhoff, Cheetah Conservation Fund
    • Robyn Johnson, Disney’s Animal Kingdom
    • T’Noya Thompson, North American Association for Environmental Education

    EWCL Project Supporters - with gratitude for providing essential guidance to our team

    • Kristen Lewis-Waldron, Group Advisor, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Philadelphia Zoo
    • Laura Gruber, Conservation Training Programs Coordinator, White Oak Conservation
    • Amielle DeWan, Executive Director, Impact by Design
    • Colby Bishop, Director, Wildlife Programs, National Geographic

    Sumatran Rhinos need help. 
    We recommend interested persons donate to one of the following organizations:

    • International Rhino Foundation (IRF) - Since 1993, IRF has been exclusively focused on strategic programs supporting the management and applied research for all five rhino species.
      • IRF’s Indonesian Program is actively managing support strategies for the survival of Sumatran rhinos in-country. Two critical aspects are habitat restoration and the community browse farming program initiated in late 2018. Supporting these efforts has been a primary focus of our EWCL project and we commend anyone continuing to assist these programs financially. Read more about the habitat recovery efforts here
      • You can also Adopt a Sumatran rhino being managed at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary through IRF here.
    • Sumatran Rhino Rescue - Sumatran Rhino Rescue is a groundbreaking approach to conservation that brings together the Government of Indonesia, leading international conservation organizations, local experts and conservation practitioners, and supporters from around the world to save a species from extinction.
    • Funds Earned