Last Male Sumatran Rhino Dies in Malaysia Dealing a Huge Blow to Rhino Conservation

5A species in jeopardy

The Sumatran Rhino was seriously a species in jeopardy. Its height was only 3 to 3.5 feet and in 2015 they had been declared extinct in the wild in Malaysia. Wildlife experts feel that it is the isolation of the species that is one of the biggest threat to their existence. The females are also prone to cysts and fibroids of the reproductive system because of the lack of mating. This was also the reason for Iman being infertile.

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6Females are prone to reproductive diseases

Puntung too was unable to carry a fetus because of injuries received from a poacher’s snare and a failed pregnancy in the wild. In 2018, National Geographic along with Sumatran Rhino Rescue collaborated in a non-profit venture to try and capture Sumatran Rhinoceroses in the wild and bring them to a reserve for captive breeding. Tam and Punting are pictured in the image below.

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7Wild rhinos need to be captured to ensure survival

Wildlife practice leader for WWF International Margaret Kinnaird says “ “Tam’s death underscores how critically important the collaborative efforts driving the Sumatran Rhino Rescue project are, We’ve got to capture those remaining, isolated rhinos in Kalimantan and Sumatra and do our best to encourage them to make babies.”

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8A slow decline

Tam’s condition was slowly deteriorating and he had been ill since last April. His appetite and alertness also reduced greatly according to Augustine Tuuga who is the Sabah Wildlife Department Director. Sabah was the sanctuary that had housed Tam. When Tam was put through tests, it was revealed that the Rhino’s kidneys and organs were about to fail.

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