KUALA LUMPUR: The clock is ticking for the critically endangered Sumatran Rhino with their numbers down to just three in Malaysia.
Executive Director of Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA) Datuk Dr John Payne said there were only one male rhino and two female rhinos in Sabah.
He said conservationists were on a desperate mission to save the country’s remaining Sumatran rhinos.
“The three Sumatran rhinos left were caught and have been placed in captive breeding programmes until today,” he said after a media preview screening on ‘Uncover Malaysia’ about the ‘Operation Sumatran Rhino’ documentary at Sunway Pyramid here, today.
Dr John Payne said the biggest threat the Sumatran rhino faced was poaching which had caused their number to dwindle to only three in Malaysia.
He believed the species can be saved via In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) among the rhinos left, adding that the next IVF process would take place on November this year. “BORA has been fighting an uphill battle trying to save Malaysia’s last Sumatran rhinos. The only way this could be done was to capture all the remaining specimens in the wild - which was a dangerous and costly operation and to breed them,” he added. According to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, Sumatran rhinos are described as the smallest of all rhinos and it is the only Asian rhino with two horns. Sumatran rhinos give birth to one calf at a time, every three to four years and their pregnancies last around 15 to 17 months. To drive public awareness for the rhino’s plight, the National Geographic Channel, Astro and efforts led by BORA produced the ‘Uncover Malaysia’ documentary on current efforts to save the critically endangered Sumatran rhinos. The documentary will be aired on National Geographic Wild, Astro channel 550 at 8.40pm on Sept 19. Meanwhile, in conjunction with World Rhino Day on September 22, the documentary will be on National Geographic Wild, National Geographic Channel, Astro channel 553 and HD channel 573 at 7pm. Operation Sumatran Rhino is part of the larger Uncover Malaysia campaign that takes a look at different aspects of Malaysia, featuring stories on culture, culinary arts and conservation. -- Bernama