Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Captive Sumatran Rhinos Last Hope for Species?

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Sumatran Rhinocerous

Rare Sumatran Rhinocerous Puntung is a female Sumatran rhino, one of an estimated 200 of her species left in the world. Captured in a forest in Borneo on Christmas Day, she's the latest addition to Malaysia's Borneo Rhino Sanctuary. Veterinarians want to introduce Puntung to Tam a 20-year-old male living in the enclosure next door. Captive breeding is now regarded as the only way to boost the Sumatran rhino population. Deforestation and illegal hunting have decimated the species in the wild. Habitat fragmentation has cut these solitary animals off from potential mates, and the animals are ageing to the point where they are too old to breed. Puntung presents their best opportunity in decades to help a species whose time is running out.

IUCN Red List: Sumatran Rhinoceros This species (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is listed as Critically Endangered due to very severe declines of greater than 80% over three generations (generation length estimated at 20 years); and because its population size is estimated to number fewer than 250 mature individuals and there is an expected continuing decline of at least 25% within one generation; and because its population size is estimated to number fewer than 250 mature individuals, with no subpopulation greater than 50 individuals, and it is experiencing a continuing decline. There are three recognized subspecies: Dicerorhinus sumatrensis lasiotis (probably Extinct), Dicerorhinus sumatrensis sumatrensis, and Dicerorhinus sumatrensis harrissoni.

Captive Sumatran Rhino Romance May Be Last Hope for Species The hopes for an entire species may rest on a captive breeding program and two Sumatran rhinos at a sanctuary in Malaysia. The Sumatran rhino is not only the world's smallest rhinoceros, it is also one of the rarest with deforestation and poaching having decimated its population in the wild. Rob Muir reports.




Sumatran Rhinocerous


International Union for Conservation of Nature

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