It's Official: Last Male Sumatran Rhino Is Dead



With the death of Tam, the last male Sumatran rhino in Malaysia, another nail has been hammered into the species' coffin. Now, only one female Sumatran rhino named Iman remains in the country, ending efforts to produce offspring.

Tam fell ill in late April, losing his appetite and energy, and the decline was rapid. On Monday 27 May, the 30-something-year-old rhino breathed his last at the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Sabah, which had been his home since he was captured in the wild in 2008.

"Today, we bid farewell to Tam, our last surviving male Sumatran rhino," WWF Malaysia wrote on Facebook. "Our hearts are filled with sadness as we mourn not only the loss of wildlife but the loss of a species."

His cause of death is not yet known, but early evidence suggests that his kidneys, and perhaps his liver as well, had begun to fail. It may have been simply due to age, as the life expectancy of Sumatran rhinos is 35 to 40 years.

The critically endangered Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) was declared extinct in the wild in Malaysia in 2015, but while Tam remained alive, so too did a slender thread of hope.

Sadly, efforts to breed Tam using IVF with either of two captive females of his species - Puntung, captured in 2011, and Iman, captured in 2014 - produced no offspring.

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