Saturday, April 18, 2015

Only three Sumatran rhinos left in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah wildlife experts are for the first time acknowledging the grim fate of the state’s Sumatran rhinos.

They are now certain that the three rhinos in captivity are the only ones left and they are incapable of breeding due to health problems.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Envi­ronment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said wildlife researchers had reported it was unlikely that there were any rhino left in the wild in the absence of any sightings of the creature.

(Wildlife experts had previously thought that there were about 10 rhinos in Sabah’s forests.)

“We are facing the prospect of our Sumatran rhinos going extinct in our lifetime,” said Masidi when opening a seminar on the environment organised by the Judicial Depart­ment.

The saddest part was that these creatures had been hunted to virtual extinction for their horns which have a nutritional value similar to nails, he added.

He said the state was fast running out of options to get the three remaining rhinos – females named Puntong and Iman and the male Tam – to produce offspring.

Masidi said the three rhinos had problems with their reproductive systems and wildlife experts were not able to come up with any solutions as yet.

Voicing a similar concern for Bornean elephants, Masidi noted that he had been alerted by the Wildlife Department of the disco­very of orphaned elephant calves two days in a row.

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