Sumatran rhino is extinct in Malaysia as lone survivor dies

The WWF estimates that only around 80 Sumatran rhinoceros are left on the planet. (File/AFP)
Updated 24 November 2019

Sumatran rhino is extinct in Malaysia as lone survivor dies

  • The rhinoceros Iman had uterine tumors
  • She was 25 years old

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: The Sumatran rhinoceros has become extinct in Malaysia, after the last of the species in the country succumbed to cancer.
The Wildlife Department in eastern Sabah state on Borneo island said the rhino, named Iman, died of natural causes Saturday due to shock in her system. She had uterine tumors since her capture in March 2014.
Department director Augustine Tuuga said in a statement that Iman, who reportedly was 25 years old, was suffering significant pain from growing pressure of the tumors to her bladder but that her death came sooner than expected.
It came six months after the death of the country’s only male rhino in Sabah. Another female rhino also died in captivity in 2017 in the state. Efforts to breed them have been futile but Sabah authorities have harvested their cells for possible reproduction.
“Despite us knowing that this would happen sooner rather than later, we are so very saddened by this news,” said Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew, who is also environment minister.
Liew said that Iman had escaped death several times over the past few years due to sudden massive blood loss, but that wildlife officials managed to nurse her back to health and obtained her egg cells for a possible collaboration with Indonesia to reproduce the critically endangered species through artificial insemination.
The Sumatran rhino, the smallest of five rhinoceros species, once roamed across Asia as far as India, but its numbers have shrunk drastically due to deforestation and poaching. The WWF conservation group estimates that there are only about 80 left, mostly living in the wild in Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature identifies the Sumatran as well as the Black and Javan rhinoceros as being critically endangered. Both African and Sumatran rhinoceros have two horns, while the others have a single horn.
Only about 24,500 rhinos survive in the wild with another 1,250 in captivity worldwide, the IUCN says. Of these, more than two-thirds are white rhinos.
Rhinos are killed for their horns, which consist of keratin similar to human hair and nails and are used in traditional medicines in parts of Asia.


Couple run Dubai balcony marathon to beat coronavirus blues

Updated 29 March 2020

Couple run Dubai balcony marathon to beat coronavirus blues

  • The couple covered 42.2km by running more than 2,100 laps
  • The whole distance took them 5 hours, 9 minutes and 39 seconds

DUBAI: A South African couple who ran a marathon on the balcony of their Dubai apartment, streaming it online, plan to take the project global to help people shake off the coronavirus blues.

Collin Allin, 41, and wife Hilda covered the 42.2-kilometer distance by running more than 2,100 laps of their 20-meter long balcony from dawn on Saturday.

A stopwatch provided by the couple shows they covered the distance in five hours, nine minutes and 39 seconds.

“We did it ... #balconymarathon,” Allin said on Instagram, congratulating his wife on her first ever marathon and thanking the virtual crowd that cheered them on.

“Thank you for all the love and support for doing something silly... was great to have you all along for the ride,” he said.
The couple’s 10-year-old daughter Geena acted as race director, putting up signs marking “start” and “turn around” and providing her parents with water and snacks as well as inspirational music.

Allin said he planned to organize a “bigger, global and more inclusive run next” where people who are under lockdown but keen to stretch their legs can join for a few kilometers or more.
“This is about giving people something else to think about,” Allin told AFP. “It’s about getting people to connect, as everyone is worried about the impact of coronavirus.”
The pandemic has wiped out international sporting schedules and triggered lockdowns that have limited options for outdoor exercise in many countries, but enterprising people have found ways to fit in a workout.
Elisha Nochomovitz, a 32-year-old who lives near the French city of Toulouse, ran a marathon on his balcony which measures just seven meters.
He reportedly managed the feat in six hours and 48 minutes, nearly double his best marathon finish time.