Sumatran rhinos are a breed that has been steadily vanishing for years due to several issues including logging and poaching, as its horns are used in traditional Asian medicine. The Cincinnati Zoo has worked with various Indonesian organizations for two and a half decades to try and help the species back to more stable numbers, but the odds are stacked against these creatures, as their horns are valued higher than gold and cocaine in the Asian black market. It is estimated that less than 100 Sumatran rhinos may exist in the wild, and the species is widely considered the most endangered large mammal in the world, having experienced 50% decline per decade in the 20th century.
While Suci’s death had far-reaching implications for her species and the environment, it also profoundly affected the conservationists who have worked to save her species. Both Terri Roth, one of the Cincinnati Zoo’s conservationists, and Joel Sartore, Suci’s longtime photographer for National Geographic, expressed their grief and disappointment with her passing.