Friday, Fri-yay! There just might be a hope for Iman, Malaysia’s last surviving female Sumatran rhino.
by Stanley P, Carrybeans
That’s right, our dear beloved Sumatran rhino’s condition is improving and we’re all breathing a sigh of relief. Things took a turn for the worst when we heard she may not survive (here’s what happened) from the internal bleeding. But today, we received great news.
According to a news report published earlier today, Iman is still suffering from vaginal discharge but overall, has started getting better over the last few weeks. Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said her appetite has improved and she continues to be given treatment.
It was a worrying time when we heard she may not survive, but it really looks like things are getting better for our rhino! At the moment, she is still being held in her paddock and is not allowed to go to her wallow. The Sabah Wildlife Department and Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA) are treating Iman at the Tabin Wildlife Park, Lahad Datu.
Although this is good news, Iman is not completely out of the woods yet. She is still suffering from the tumour in her uterus and there are currently no experts available to help her.
Meanwhile, there’s another sliver of hope for the survival of the Sumatran rhino here in Malaysia. The Indonesian government has agreed to send in semen samples from their Sumatran captivity-bred rhino, Andalas, for Malaysia’s Advanced Reproductive Technology programme this year.
Both countries reached an agreement during a Technical Expert Meeting held in Jakarta from last October. The plan now is to fertilise the sperm with Iman’s egg. If successful, the embryo will be implanted into a female rhino from Indonesia’s sanctuary.
“Hopefully the Memorandum of Agreement for the cooperation in Sumatran Rhinoceros Conservation between the Indonesian and Malaysian governments will be signed soon to allow for the establishment of a joint working group. This will also pave the way for full implementation of the cooperation,” Agustine said.
We’re glad to hear about this bilateral partnership, which will play a major role in ensuring the survival of Sumatran rhinos.
BORA’s Executive Director, Datuk Dr Junaidi Payne once stated that the survival of Sumatran rhinos depends on in-vitro fertilisation. It’s therefore crucial that Malaysia and Indonesia continue working hand-in-hand to achieve this.
All of this definitely means hope. While Iman is not able to have her own calf, at least there will be offspring. A female rhino from the sanctuary, Ratu, bred with Andalas and was able to give birth to two rhinos; Andatu in 2012 and Delilah in 2016. So, if fertilisation of the egg happens, we might just see little rhinos in the near future!
Here at Carrybeans, we applaud the efforts made by the heroes who are trying to save the Sumatran rhinos; your deeds certainly don’t go unnoticed. We are also praying hard for Iman’s health. Get well soon, Iman!
If you are interested in the conservation efforts of the Sumatran rhino, do visit BORA’s website to learn how you can make a difference.
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Featured Image Credit: Junaidi Payne, BORA