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Breakthrough on Malaysia-Indonesia Collaboration in saving the Sumatran Rhino from extinction

August 17, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 (Bernama) -- A collaboration between Malaysia and Indonesia on the conservation of the Sumatran Rhinoceros is set to go forward as early as next month.
This decision came as a result of a meeting held between Indonesian and Malaysian government officials in Jakarta on Friday, 9th August 2019. The Malaysian delegation, led by Sabah Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Christina Liew, also included senior officers from the ministry as well as Dr. John Payne from the Borneo Rhino Alliance and Dr. Henry Chan from WWF-Malaysia.
Also present at the meeting were Widodo Ramono of the Indonesian Rhino Foundation and Anwar Purwoto from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
At the meeting, Malaysian and Indonesian delegates successfully outlined the technical details involved in the collaboration between the two countries for rhino conservation as well as set a timetable to move forward.
Director-General of Natural Resource and Ecosystem Conservation Indonesia, Wiratno, reaffirmed his Ministry’s commitment to proceed as soon as possible, pending any administrative and legal details that needs to be resolved.
“This visit has been a positive one for rhino conservation in Malaysia and Indonesia as we are ready to move forward and work together.”
“While governments do their part to enable the collaboration to move forward, the effort to save our Sumatran Rhino from disappearing from Planet Earth calls for international support. I am happy that BORA and WWF-Malaysia being part of our delegation is evidence of that. I call on WWF to reach out to the global community to partner with us in reversing the complete loss of rhinos,” said Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Christina Liew.
According to Borneo Rhino Alliance and SOS Rhino, the single main reason that captive breeding of Sumatran rhinos has not been successful is due to the fact that capture efforts have for the past forty years avoided capture of fertile rhinos and instead targeted the isolated and mainly infertile ones. Sumatran rhinos will only survive with a concerted effort to secure the last fertile rhinos from their unviable situations.
However, Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is also vital so that the infertile and sub fertile ones can contribute their genomes to the species survival.
“It would be nice to imagine that this ancient species can be saved from extinction by protecting the last survivors in the wild and through natural breeding. The reality is that this is no longer going to happen. It is absolutely necessary to fast track assisted reproductive technology to ensure that every last Sumatran rhino counts and can contribute its genome to the survival of the species. I am delighted that all the concerned institutions now subscribe to this view and will move forward together. Better late than never,” said BORA Executive Director Dr. John Payne
“WWF-Malaysia applauds the Sabah State Government’s strong commitment to rhino conservation. Its visit to Indonesia has helped to expedite the process of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to reverse the complete extinction of our Sumatran Rhinoceros. The organisation fully supports the MoU as it would pave the way for a better bilateral collaboration that would in turn gain stronger support from the international community for a One Borneo Programme.”
“For its part, WWF-Malaysia will assist to garner support from the global audience with the help of its network offices around the world,” said WWF-Malaysia Conservation Director, Dr. Henry Chan.
About WWF-Malaysia WWF-Malaysia (World Wide Fund for Nature-Malaysia) was established in Malaysia in 1972. It currently runs more than 90 projects covering a diverse range of environmental conservation and protection work, from saving endangered species such as tigers and turtles, to protecting our highland forests, rivers and seas. The national conservation organisation also undertakes environmental education and advocacy work to achieve its conservation goals. Its mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the nation’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.  For latest news and media resources, visit

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SOURCE: WWF-Malaysia

Name: Elaine Clara Mah
Tel: +6088 262 420 Ext. 121




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