WWF: Tam’s death should serve as a warning

Tam, the last male Sumatran rhino, plays in mud in Sabah May 2014 in this picture obtained from social media May 27, 2019. — Reuters pic
Tam, the last male Sumatran rhino, plays in mud in Sabah May 2014 in this picture obtained from social media May 27, 2019. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — The death of Malaysia’s last remaining male Sumatran rhino, Tam, on Monday should serve as a warning on the need to act fast to provide the highest protection for all endangered species.

World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia conservation director Dr Henry Chan said Tam’s death should serve as a reminder that endangered species could go extinct in our lifetime.

“We need to ensure other endangered species like elephants, orangutans, bantengs (a species of wild cattle) and pangolins will not experience the same fate. Working together is key to saving these species.

 “We also need to explore new approaches in conservation while dealing head-on with the threats facing endangered species,” he told Bernama today.

A post-mortem carried out on Tam showed that it had died of cardiopulmonary failure. With the death of Tam, Malaysia is now left with one female Sumatran rhinoceros, known as Iman.

Dr Chan said while the government is looking at implementing new approaches in conservation, the fundamental part of species conservation, which is to provide the highest protection to Malaysia’s endangered species in the forest, should remain top priority.

“We urge the state government to provide more resources to enforcement agencies like Sabah Wildlife Department and Sabah Forestry Department to continue their good work by having more boots on the ground,” he said.

Meanwhile, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia faculty of science and technology lecturer Prof Dr Shukor Md Nor said management of habitats should be given priority to ensure that animals, especially those threatened by extinction, can be saved.

The government should also intensify its activities under the Central Forest Spine initiatives to establish a continuation of the country’s biodiversity habitat in four major forest complexes in the country. — Bernama

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