Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sabah wildlife officials to trap rhino for breeding

Malaysian wildlife officials on Wednesday said they plan to trap a rare female Borneo rhino caught on camera to mate with a lone male rescued two years ago.

"This particular female rhino is targeted for capture in order to provide a mate for our lone male rhino, Tam, who was captured in August 2008," Laurentius Ambu, Sabah Wildlife Director said in a statement.

Officials said captive breeding was the only way to prevent extinction of the wild rhino, under threat from poaching.

The wild female rhino was spotted by remotely-set camera traps in eastern Sabah a few weeks ago. It followed the release on April 21 of an image of a possibly pregnant female in a another part of the state.

"Sabah now represents the last hope of saving the species in Malaysia and in Borneo," John Payne, chief executive officer of the Borneo Rhino Alliance (Bora).

Bora is assisting Sabah in the development of the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve and providing security against poaching.

Sen Nathan, rhino conservation programme coordinator said poachers were the number one enemy of the rhinos.

"We have reached a stage now where even habitat loss is not so much the main reason for extinction, rather the ruthless hunting of the last few remaining individuals, to supply ridiculous markets for horns, bones and other body parts.

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