Wildlife

One of Malaysia’s Last Sumatran Rhinos Dies

One of the last three Sumatran rhinoceroses in Malaysia has died, the Borneo Rhino Alliance has announced.

The rhino, named Puntung, was about 20 years old. Her keepers at Malaysia’s Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Sabah euthanized her on June 4, eight days after discovering that the critically endangered animal had squamous cell cancer. The cancer had spread rapidly, and intensive treatment would have bought Puntung only a few more months of life penned in an indoor enclosure, the Borneo Rhino Alliance reported on its Facebook page.

Sumatran rhinoceroses (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) are the smallest of all rhino species. They’re also the most endangered, according to the International Rhino Foundation (IRF). With Puntung’s death, there are only two individuals left in Malaysia: Tam, a middle-age male; and Iman, a female. Both are kept at the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve. The Sumatran rhino is now extinct in the wild in Malaysia. In Indonesia, fewer than 100 Sumatran rhinos survive in the wild. Poaching has sliced the population in half over the past 20 years, according to the IRF.

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