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Tragic death of Sumatran Rhino points to the need for a single species recovery programme

April 9, 2016

Filepic of Tam being coaxed into a trap with leaves. He was found wandering in an oil palm plantation in Kretam, Sabah in 2008.

Filepic of Tam being coaxed into a trap with leaves. He was found wandering in an oil palm plantation in Kretam, Sabah in 2008.[/caption]

Media Release – 7 April 2016: An NGO in Malaysian Borneo that has been rescuing critically endangered Sumatran rhinos since 2008 under a program to prevent the species’ extinction says that they stand ready to play a new role with Indonesia.

Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA), a non-governmental organization dedicated to preventing the extinction of the Sumatran rhino, is greatly saddened to learn of the death of Najaq, the first rhino captured in Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo in recent times. “Najaq was captured less than 700 kilometers south of the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary in Sabah, so she might even be distantly related to our rhinos,” said Dr. John Payne, Executive Director of BORA, the organization entrusted with the care of the last three Malaysian Sumatran rhinos in Sabah.

“We recall the cordial visit of representatives of the Government of Indonesia and WWF-Indonesia in early 2015 to observe our captive rhinos. We would value collaboration with Indonesia through the mutual exchange of information and expertise. If Indonesia should so desire, we can bring to the Sabah government the idea of sharing Sabah’s remaining rhinos, or their gametes, in support of Indonesia’s efforts to save this ancient species.”

“BORA applauds the Government of Indonesia’s decision to rescue the remaining rhinos in Kalimantan,“ said Dr Abdul Hamid Ahmad, BORA’s Chairman.

“Our veterinarian, together with the Sabah Wildlife Department, has used a similar capture and translocation protocol to rescue the last two wild rhinos from remote hill forests in Sabah. The capture of isolated Sumatran rhinos is indeed inherently risky, but leaving isolated animals in a place where they cannot find a mate and breed has far greater risks for a critically endangered species with a global population of less than 100. Protection and habitat restoration are no longer sufficient to ensure the Sumatran rhino’s survival.”

“Although Najaq’s death is tragic, we stand with and encourage Indonesia to continue its rescue efforts.”

In addition to Indonesia’s ongoing strategy to find and rescue isolated Sumatran rhinos, reproductive specialists and veterinarians from Bogor Agricultural University in Indonesia and those in Malaysia, who together represent Southeast Asia’s leading Sumatran rhino experts, are already working together with experts from Germany, Italy, the United States and other nations. Their goal is to develop advanced reproductive techniques, including in vitro fertilization, in order to give every remaining Sumatran rhino the chance to contribute to the survival of its species. This approach will also help to sustain genetic diversity, a factor critical for the long-term survival of the species.

For further information, please contact:

John Payne, Borneo Rhino Alliance,, phone & whatsapp +60198602040


Sime Darby Foundation Plans Rhino Sanctuary in Sabah

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A Plan to Bring Isolated Borneo Rhinos Together

August 18, 2009

Reprieve for rhinos

August 18, 2009