A new scientific study shows that the Sumatran rhino is now extinct in the wild, with the exception of Indonesia. However, it did go extinct in Malaysia, this region being its primary homeland.
Lead author of the study, Rasmus Gren Havmøller, from University of Copenhagen, said Sumatran rhinos are endangered species, inclined to go extinct in Indonesia too, despite protective measures and efforts to keep them alive.
The conclusion that the rhinoceros is now extinct in Malaysia has been presented in the journal Oryx, by the scientists at the University of Copenhagen’s Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate.
According to a spokesperson from the National History Museum in Denmark, the Sumatran rhinoceros hasn’t been seen in Malaysia since 2007. In that period two rhinos were taken for care, scientific and breeding purposes. It is claimed to be one of the most endangered mammals.
The Sumatran rhinoceros is a remarkable and intriguing large mammal because it exhibits a reddish-brown fur, therefore acquiring the named of “hairy rhino.” This large fellow is famous as one of Asia’s most precious wildlife animals. Moreover, it displays two horns, making it similar to the native African white and black rhinos.
Since prehistoric times the rhino has pursued its legacy, the traces dating from the Woolly Rhino family. But its size started decreasing, as the Sumatran one is the smallest of its kind. There are a total of five still existing rhino species. The ones native to Asia are the Indian, Javan and Sumatran rhinos, which are all, in fact, endangered species.
Due to the fact that some specimens of this particular rhino family have been poached for their horns and have lost their natural habitat, the species is almost extinct at the present time.
The construction of roads in Indonesian forests where the rhino still lives has taken the specimens apart from each other. Therefore, they cannot breed and eventually die out. And even though Sumatran rhinos are usually mammals that prefer loneliness, they still need to breed.
The Cincinnati Zoo wants to send back one of its male rhinos named Harapan into the wild in the Indonesian forests. There are nine rhinos in captivity at the present time, in different facilities. The others are in Malaysia, Sabbah and five of them are in a rhino sanctuary in Indonesia.
The scientific team sadly pointed out that the Sumatran rhinos may become extinct altogether in the wild, if precautions are not fulfilled. These include the banish of poaching and more care for their natural habitats, where there are still some specimens able to breed. Captive breeding may play a role as well, even though specific reproductive technology has yet to fully develop.
Photo Credits cincinnatizoo.org