Thursday, 22 August, 2019

Malaysia's final male Sumatran rhino dies

Malaysia’s Last Male Sumatran Rhino Dies	 	 	 			Tam was the only male Sumatran rhino left in Malaysia Malaysia’s Last Male Sumatran Rhino Dies Tam was the only male Sumatran rhino left in Malaysia
Patty Aguilar | 29 May, 2019, 20:27

Malaysia's last known surviving male Sumatran rhino died on Monday following complications related to old age, environmental officials said.

Iman, a female, is the only Sumatran rhino existing in Malaysia but is now suffering from a ruptured tumour in her uterus and is unable to produce fertile eggs.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said the Malaysian male, Tam, had lived in a nature reserve on Borneo island.

According to a report by environmental news site Mongabay, Tam was named after the Kretam palm oil plantation in Sabah, the spot where he was first captured in 2008 before being moved to the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary in Tabin.

"Let the loss of Tam be the wake up call that we need to spring into action", WWF Malaysia said on Facebook. "With Tam gone, we now have only Iman left, our last female rhino".

The average life expectancy of a Sumatran rhino ranges from 35 to 40 years.

The other living Sumatran rhinos are all believed to be in Indonesia, with eight in captivity and as many as a few dozen hoped to live in isolated pockets of jungle wilderness.

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"I remember so well when Tam was captured and the high hopes everyone had that he could be the founding member of a successful captive breeding program in Sabah, and join the then-international efforts involving the U.S. and Indonesia", Susie Ellis, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation, said in a statement.

When captured in 2014, she was found to have a uterine tumours.

Unable to easily find mates, many breeding-age Sumatran rhinos risk infertility.

Tam fell ill in late April, losing his appetite and energy, and the decline was rapid. Researchers hoped he would be able to contribute to efforts to breed the critically endangered species in captivity, but Tam died without reproducing.

"We just have to look after the last remaining rhino".

Liew said ownership of the offspring will be shared with Indonesia, but it would be kept at the Way Kambas Rhino Sanctuary, Lampung in Sumatera. "Our wildlife needs protection now and like it or not, we are their only hope".

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