Malaysia’s last known Sumatran rhino dies

Ratu and her calf, Delilah, at a sanctuary in Indonesia. File photoImage copyright AFP/getty/Andreas Putranto
Image caption The Sumatran rhino is down to fewer than 100 animals

The Sumatran rhino is now officially extinct in Malaysia, with the death of the last known specimen.

The 25-year-old female named Iman died on Saturday on the island of Borneo, officials say. She had cancer.

Malaysia’s last male Sumatran rhino died in May this year.

The Sumatran rhino once roamed across Asia, but has now almost disappeared from the wild, with fewer than 100 animals believed to exist. The species is now critically endangered.

Iman died at 17:35 local time (09:35 GMT) on Saturday, Malaysia’s officials said.

“Its death was a natural one, and the immediate cause has been categorised as shock,” Sabah State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Christine Liew is quoted as saying.

“Iman was given the very best care and attention since her capture in March 2014 right up to the moment she passed,” she added.

Sumatran rhinos have been hard hit by poaching and habitat loss, but the biggest threat facing the species today is the fragmented nature of their populations.

Efforts to breed the species in Malaysia have so far failed.

Facts about the Sumatran rhino

  • Five rhino species can be found today, two in Africa and three in Asia
  • The Asian species include the Sumatran rhino, Dicerorhinus sumatrensis, which is the smallest living rhino species
  • The animal is closely related to the woolly rhinoceros, which became extinct about 10,000 years ago
  • No more than 100 Sumatran rhinos remain in the wild (some estimates put the number as low as 30), scattered on the islands of Sumatra, Indonesia

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