Dashing efforts to save the critically endangered species in the country, the last male Sumatran rhinoceros of Malaysia has died. Since his capture in 2008, it was living at a wildlife reserve in Sabah state on Borneo Island. It was about 30 years old and the rhino was named as Tam. Though the cause of the animal’s death was not clear, some media reports suggested that it was suffering from kidney and liver problems.
The smallest species of rhinoceros, the Sumatran rhino, has been declared extinct in the wild in Malaysia in 2015. A female captured in 2014, Iman, is now the only surviving member of the subspecies left in the country. Puntung, another female rhino, has died in captivity in 2017.
It was estimated by the wildlife experts that only about 30 to 80 Sumatran rhinos remain in the world that to mostly on the Indonesian island of Sumatra & on the Indonesian side of Borneo. According to conservation group International Rhino Foundation, it was found that their isolation that was caused by habitat loss & poaching, means they are rarely breeding which may go extinct in a matter of decades.
Through in vitro fertilization since about 2011, Malaysia has tried to breed the species in captivity, but there was not much success. The genetic material of Tam has been preserved for future attempts to reproduce Sumatran rhinos.