The Sumatran Rhino Is Now Extinct In Malaysia

Out of all the species of rhinos, the Sumatran rhino is the smallest, and now the rhino is extinct in Malaysia.

A group of scientists announced the extinction of the Sumatran rhino in Malaysia, which was one of its primary habitats. According to Yahoo News, only two female Sumatran rhinos have been spotted in the country over the last eight years. The first sighting was in 2011 and the second sighting was in 2014, and they were both captured for captive breeding.

The group of scientists declared the rhinos to be extinct in Malaysia after they conducted surveys. The common goal of the surveys was to find out if there were any Sumatran rhinos left roaming in Malaysia, according to Mirror.

Rasmus Gren Havmøller, who is from the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen, said the rhinos need to be viewed as a meta-population because it is vital for their survival. As Rasmus further explained, the species would be managed in a single program across both national and international borders with the goal to maximize the overall birth rate of the rhinos.

Rasmus, who is also the lead author of the report declaring the rhino’s extinction, said that metapopulation status should include the ones that are being held in captivity.

At one point in time, the Sumatran rhinos freely moved across South-east Asia. However, their horns are very valuable on the black market, and as a result they have been a continuously poached.

As of today, there are only nine Sumatran rhinos in captivity, with three being held at a location in Malaysia. There is also one located at a zoo in America, but it will eventually be moved to Indonesia. The last five Sumatran rhinos in captivity live in Sumatra, Indonesia at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary.

The co-author of the WWF Asian and Rhino and Elephant Action Strategy, Christy Williams, noted India’s success in saving the tiger from extinction. The success was the result of former prime minister Indira Gandhi who directed, intervened and set up Project Tiger.

Williams said a similar intervention by President Joko Widodo could help the rhinos.

The rhino may be extinct in Malaysia, but there are a few left in the wild. Even though there are nine Sumatran rhinos in captivity, the survival of the species also depends on the rhinos living in the wild in Indonesia. Presently, it is estimated the wild Sumatran count is less than 100.

[Photo by Mike Simons/Getty Images]