With the death of Tam, the last surviving Sumatran rhino in Malaysia, another nail has been pushed into the species' coffin. Now, just one female Sumatran rhino named Iman remains in the country, with no more efforts to produce off springs.
Tam fell sick in late April, losing both his appetite and energy and the decline in health was rapid. On Monday 27 May, the rhino which was more than 30 years old breathed his last at the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Sabah, which had been his abode since he was caught in the wild in 2008."Today, we bid farewell to Tam, our last surviving male Sumatran rhino," WWF Malaysia wrote on Facebook. "Our hearts are filled with sadness as we mourn not only the loss of wildlife but the loss of a species."
The reason behind the death is not yet known, but few earlier evidence indicated that his kidneys, and perhaps his liver as well, was gradually failing. It could have been due to age, as the life expectancy of Sumatran rhinos is maximum 35 to 40 years.The critically endangered Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) was proclaimed extinct in the wild in Malaysia in the year 2015, while Tam remained alive, so too did a hope.
But sadly, all the efforts to provide breeding facility to Tam using IVF with either of two captive females of his species - Puntung, captured in 2011, and Iman, captured in 2014, gave no results.
Of course, it’s not looking nice for the rest of the world, either. Even less than 80 individuals remain in the wild, spread across parts of Kalimantan (the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo) and Sumatra, and the numbers are declining year after year.
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