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We could lose Tam, the last male Sumatran Rhino, in a couple of days

KOTA KINABALU: Tam, Malaysia’s last surviving male Sumatran rhino, has no more than a few weeks to live, if not days, due to old age.

Tam and female rhino Iman are the only two Sumatran rhinos in captivity in Malaysia.

The elusive species has been considered extinct in the wild in Malaysia, as no individuals were detected in Sabah’s wild in recent years.

However, a Sumatran rhino was reportedly captured in Indonesia’s east Kalimantan last year.

Tam, who is estimated to be in his mid-30s, has shown slight improvement over the last two days, due to intensive care since the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) announced on Sunday (May 19) that it was in critical condition.

However, SWD director Augustine Tuuga said their main concern remained his age, as rhinos generally have a lifespan of 35 to 40 years old.

Over the years, Sabah and Malaysia authorities have been trying to engage with Indonesia in rhino preservation, with a focus on advanced reproductive technology, including in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).

Despite claims of ongoing government-to-government talks, so far efforts have been unsuccessful, as nothing concrete has been achieved on the matter.

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