THE LAST of the species in Malaysia has died zoologists have confirmed announcing that the Sumatran rhinoceros is now officially and tragically extinct in Malaysia.

The last of the species in the country was a female rhino named Iman who has died sooner than expected from uterine tumours which she suffered from since her capture in March 2014.

Malaysia’s last male Sumatran rhino died in May and another female rhino also died in captivity in 2017. Efforts to breed them had proved futile.

The Sumatran rhino is the smallest of the rhinoceros species. It once roamed across Asia as far as India, but deforestation and poaching has caused its numbers to shrink drastically in recent years. The WWF conservation group estimates that there are only about 80 left, mostly living in the wild in Sumatra.

Worryingly, the rihon’s isolation means they rarely breed and may become extinct in a matter of decades, according to conservation group International Rhino Foundation.

The Sumatran as well as the Black and Javan rhinoceros are classified as critically endangered, as identified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Both African and Sumatran rhinoceros have two horns, while Indian and Javan rhinoceros have a single horn.

Many poachers kill Rhinoceros for their horns which are sold on the black market because of their supposed “medical attributes.” The horns are ground up and swallowed as treatments for fevers or convulsions even though the horns are made primarily of keratin, which is the same material that makes up hair and fingernails.

According to Save The Rhino, of the five rhino species, the population figures are as follows:

Javan rhino: In-situ population: 65-58 animals. IUCN Red List Classification: Critically Endangered

Sumatran rhino: less than 80 individuals. IUCN Red List Classification: Critically Endangered

Black rhino: In-situ population: 5,366 to 5,627. IUCN Red List Classification: Critically Endangered

Greater one-horned rhino: In-situ population: 3,588. IUCN Red List Classification: Vulnerable

White rhino: In-situ population: 17,212 to 18,915. IUCN Red List Classification: Near Threatened


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Written by

Cristina Hodgson

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