Sumatran rhinos are declared extinct in Malaysia. The survival of the these rhinos is depending on less than 100 individuals in the wild in Indonesia and nine rhinos in captivity, study suggests
The Sumatran rhinoceros, one of the rare large mammals, are critically endangered.
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A new study indicates that around 100 Sumatran Rhinos are left both in wild and captive. Few exist in the island of Borneo while rest are living in Sumatra, the island of Indonesia.
Scientists have declared the species of rhino extinct in the wild in Malaysia since no Sumatran Rhino is seen in the wild there since 2007. Only two females were captured in 2011 and 2014 for breeding purposes.
Sumatran Rhinos were once found across the Southeast Asia region but hunting and habitat loss have reduced their number to less than hundred in wild and nine in captivity. One is held in Cincinnati zoo in United States, three in Sabah, Malaysia while remaining five are in a rhino sanctuary in Sumatra, Indonesia. Despite the decades of conservation efforts, the numbers are low and continue to decline.
The survival of Sumatran Rhinos is now depending on the few remaining individuals.
“It is vital for the survival for the survival of the species that all remaining Sumatran rhinos are viewed as a metapopulation, that all are managed in a single program across the national and international borders in order to maximize overall birth rate. This includes the individuals currently held in captivity.” Rasmus Gren Havmoller, the lead author of the study said in a statement.
Sumatran rhino’s population faced sharp decline between 1980 and 2005. They were dropped from around 500 to extinction in that period. Captive breeding also proved unsuccessful. Since 1984, a total of 45 Sumatran rhinos were taken from the wild but there has been no captive birth since 2001.
The established of intensive management zones is one of those strategies that are agreed upon in April 2013 in Sumatran Rhino Crisis Summit in Singapore but this conservation strategy is awaiting political will.
“Serious efforts by the government of Indonesia should be put to strengthen rhino protection by creating Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ), intensive survey of the current known habitats, habitat management, captive breeding and mobilizing national resources and support from related local governments and other stockholders.”
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The study was led by the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen and published on online on Oryx, the International Journal of Conservation.