THE Sumatran rhinoceros has become extinct in Malaysia (馬來西亞), after the last of the species in the country succumbed to cancer.
The Wildlife Department in Eastern Sabah on Borneo Island (婆羅洲島東沙巴) said the rhino, named Iman, died of natural causes in late November due to a shock in her system. She had uterine tumours since her capture in March 2014.
Department director Augustine Tuuga said Iman, who reportedly was 25 years old, had been suffering significant pain from the growing pressure of the tumours against her bladder but that her death came sooner than expected.
It came six months after the death of the country’s only male rhino in Sabah. Another female rhino also died in captivity in 2017 in the state. Efforts to breed them have been futile but Sabah authorities have harvested their cells for possible reproduction.
“Despite us knowing that this would happen sooner rather than later, we are so very saddened by this news,” said Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew.
Wildlife officials have also obtained Iman’s egg cells for a possible collaboration with Indonesia to reproduce the critically endangered species through artificial insemination.
The Sumatran rhino, the smallest of five rhinoceros species, has shrunk drastically in population due to deforestation and poaching.
The WWF conservation group estimates that there are only about 80 left, mostly living in the wild in Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia (印尼).
(This article is published on Junior Standard on 09 December 2019)
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