Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Sabah leads global bid to save rhinos

KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia, represented by the Wildlife Department in Sabah, is leading a worldwide bid to save the Sumatran rhinoceros that are in serious danger of extinction.

Dr Laurentius Nayan Ambu, director of the department, has been appointed chairman of the Global Sumatran Rhinoceros Management and Propagation Board (GMPB) for the next five years, a post previously held by Indonesia.

By virtue of the fact that Indonesia and Malaysia are the only two countries where this rare animal is found, they are known as the range states and considered the leading countries on the board of this global body.

Laurentius told the Borneo Post in an interview here that there are not more than 350 of this specie of rhinoceros left on earth and there are no more than 50 of them in Malaysia.

“To be exact, there are no more than 30 in fragmented areas, mainly in the Tabin and the Danum Valley in the Lahad Datu district of Sabah,” he added.

“These are the two areas we surveyed that have a good number of rhinos left, the bulk of rhinos in Sabah.

“The rest are in the interior, like the Tungod area, the Yayasan Sabah’s timber concession areas and some forest reserves in central Sabah.”

Elaborating on his role as GMPB chairman, Laurentius said:

“I am spearheading the movement. That means I talk to the Indonesian authorities on what they are doing there. I call on them every now and then to see what’s going on in Indonesia and find out what help do they need.”

He pointed out that there are only two captive breeding sites in the world – one in Indonesia and the other in Malaysia.

The one in Indonesia is located at Waykambas, Bogor, on Sumatra Island. This is where they keep their captive rhinos. The one for Malaysia is in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve.

“These are the two Sumatran rhinoceros breeding centres in the world. My duty is to call on the technical experts on the board, representatives of the donor countries and try to work out how to support these two breeding centres.

“The other breeding centre is at the Cincinnati Zoo. They took the Sumatran rhinos from Indonesia. That one is captive, whilst the ones in Malaysia and Indonesia are in semi-wild conditions.”

Laurentius disclosed that a rhino conservation workshop, held two years ago, passed a resolution saying that an active intervention had to be taken to save the rhinos.

Continue reading at: Sabah leads global bid to save rhinos

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