Malaysia on Monday said its last male Sumatran rhinoceros had died at the age of 30 hindering efforts to breed the endangered species in captivity, Reuters reported. The Sumatran rhino was declared extinct in the wild in Malaysia in 2015.
The species is the smallest type of rhino in the world.
Tam, who was captured in 2008, lived at a wildlife reserve in Sabah state on Borneo island. Minister for tourism, culture and environment Christina Liew said Tam’s genetic material will be saved for attempts to reproduce the species. The government had been trying to breed the species via in-vitro fertilisation.
“Let the loss of Tam be the wake up call that we need to spring into action,” WWF Malaysia said on Facebook. “Our wildlife needs protection now and like it or not, we are their only hope.”
A female rhinoceros named Iman is now the only surviving member of the sub-species in the country. Iman was captured in 2017.
Wildlife experts say that only about 30 to 80 Sumatran rhinos remain in the world, most of whom live on Sumatra and the Indonesian side of Borneo. The International Rhino Foundation had warned that their loss of habitat could lead to their extinction in decades.