In May, Malaysia’s last male Sumatran passed away due to old age and multiple organ failure. He left Iman as the only living Sumatran rhino in Malaysia. When once they were a heavily settled species in the region, the Sumatran rhino is now officially extinct in Malaysia.
Photo from WWF Malaysia
According to National Geographic, Iman — the country’s last rhino — passed away from cancer last November 23. “Iman was given the very best care and attention since her capture in March 2014 right up to the moment she passed. No one could have done more,” said Christine Liew, Sabah State’s Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Environment.
Now, there are only believed to be about 80 Sumatran rhinos left in the world. One of the largest hurdles they face is isolation. As members of the species are pushed further and further apart, opportunities to breed and repopulate are scarce. Add to that the fact that female Sumatran rhinos develop cysts and fibroids in their reproductive tracts when going too long without mating, and the resulting scenario is quite difficult.
Which is exactly why the Sumatran Rhino Rescue exists. It is a collaboration of the world’s leading conservation groups to safely bring as many Sumatran Rhinos as possible into captivity. They intend to encourage breeding within the species and consequently increase their numbers.
And not all hope is lost. Just last year, the coalition was able to bring a new female named Pahu into captivity. They are currently searching for a mate for her.
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