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.


TWITTER POLL: Firing up of UAE’s Barakah power plant to usher new age of nuclear energy

Updated 04 August 2020

TWITTER POLL: Firing up of UAE’s Barakah power plant to usher new age of nuclear energy

  • Also an indirect endorsement for a move away from fossil fuels

DUBAI: The UAE firing up of the Barakah power plant’s first nuclear reactor will usher in a new era of clean energy, according to an Arab News straw poll.

Nearly 70 percent of those who responded said they believed the launch of the Barakah facility was the beginning of a new era of energy production.

But one third of those polled said they doubted there would be any change in the current energy regime.

The UAE became the first nuclear energy capable nation in the Arab world after switching on the country’s first nuclear reactor at the Barakah plant in Abu Dhabi emirate.

Unit 1 is set to be connected to the UAE power grid and supply electricity in the next testing phase.

The Barakah facility, tucked 280 kilometers away from Abu Dhabi in the Al-Dhafra region, is expected to add 5,600 megawatts of electricity to the UAE power grid when all of its four reactors become operational as the country works to improve its environmental reputation.

“If the younger, educated ones are allowed to speedily take charge of modern tech, this can rapidly bring Arab countries into the realm of Singapore, Israel, South Korea etc.,” according to Twitter user @winstonmaraj.