Sumatran Rhinoceros have been declared extinct in Malaysia, according to zoologists.
The announcement shortly follows the death of the country’s last rhino of its kind, Iman – who was recently featured on Sir David Attenborough’s BBC series Seven Worlds One Planet.
Back in 2014, Iman had suffered from uterine tumors and had ‘escaped death several times’ due to blood loss – but sadly died on November 23 of cancer. She was reported to have been 25.
Wildlife officials have obtained her egg cells to potentially help reproduce the critically endangered species – as the World Wildlife Fund estimates there are only 80 left.
“Iman’s death came sooner than we had expected,” said Augustine Tuuga, Director of Sabah Wildlife Department in a statement.
“But we knew that she was starting to suffer significant pain from the growing pressure of the tumors into the bladder.”
‘Most threatened rhino species’
According to the WWF, Sumatran rhinos compete with the Javan rhino for the title of ‘most threatened rhino species’.
Although there are currently more Sumatran rhinos, they are ‘more threatened by poaching’.
“There is no indication that the population is stable and just two captive females have reproduced in the last 15 years,” the charity states.