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

9Tam was already old

Tam was in old age which was his thirties and Sumatran Rhinos have a lifespan of just 35-40 years. Kinnaird said “We hung so much hope on Tam to produce offspring in captivity, but that hope was dashed when the remaining two females at Tabin were unable to carry fetuses.’. Tam was not able to produce any offspring but his presence in the sanctuary provided a great deal of insight on the behavior and traits of his species.

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Susie Ellis executive director of the International Rhino Foundation says that the Borneo Rhino Alliance has been helpful in initiating advanced reproductive techniques by harvesting eggs and trying to create embryos which has take the efforts of conservation one step ahead in understanding the biology of the Sumatran Species.

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10Renewed hope

What the experts feel is that that, it is up to the public to realize how important the survival of the Sumatran rhino is. Losing Tam is a representation of 1% loss of the population. However, there is some renewed hope because Tam’s death has served as a wakeup call for many. The call will now be answered of making more efforts and finding new ways to locate animals in the wild. Kinnaird has been the coordinator for the WWF International’s Sumatran Rhino efforts for the last two years.

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11Some success last year

Last year, there was some measurable success when the teams captured a female whom they named Pahu. Her transfer to a facility for breeding in Kelian was treated with such importance that she was also given a police escort and bulldozers. Kinnaird feels that she is healthy for breeding and will soon have company. He is also thriving in the sanctuary. Kinnaird remarked “Our most recent surveys indicate there are other rhinos still roaming in Kalimantan’s forests,” which gives me renewed hope.”

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12An urgent need for ensuring the protection of rhinos

Ellis feels that there is an urgent need to continue to be focused on trying to saving the last remaining 80 Sumatran Rhinos with efforts that include intensive protection and capture breeding as well as educating and working with locals to make them pride of the rhino heritage.

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13Tam joins the Northern African White Rhino also extinct in 2018

Rhinos are a fast disappearing species on the planet thanks to encroaching of habitat and rampant poaching where the animals are killed just for the sake of their horn that is believed to have aphrodisiac properties and can also be used in herbal medicine. The North African White Rhino has already been declared extinct with only two female species surviving. Sudan was the last of the male species that expired in the Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya in March 2018.

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