Sabah mulls displaying Tam the rhino in state museum

Tam died of kidney failure on Monday. ― Picture courtesy of Sabah Wildlife Department
Tam died of kidney failure on Monday. ― Picture courtesy of Sabah Wildlife Department

KOTA KINABALU, MAY 29 — Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew has confirmed today that Tam, Malaysia’s last male Sumatran rhino, will be immortalised, and possibly put on display at the Sabah Museum.

She said the preserving of the rhino was to honour the rhino species.

“We will look into the possibility of getting the carcass of Tam to be put on display at the Sabah Museum Complex in honour of the rhino and for posterity's sake,” she said in a statement here.

This comes after Malay Mail reported this morning that the authorities would be preserving the carcass, but has yet to decide where to place it.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga had told Malay Mail that the Sabah biodiversity conservation centre wants it to be displayed at the new chief minister’s office, but no decision has been made.

Prior to this, Puntung, the last female Sumatran rhino which was euthanised in 2017, was also immortalised and is currently displayed at the Tabin information centre.

Tam, a 30-something captive Sumatran rhino, made headlines when he died on Monday, due to kidney failure. His death brought the species a step closer to extinction, with only about 80 more estimated to be alive.

Malaysia has only one captive female rhino left, Iman, with no records of rhinos in the wild in recent years.