Sunday, 23 August 2015

Sumatran rhino is extinct in the wild in Malaysia


Date: August 19, 2015

Source: Natural History Museum of Denmark

Summary: Leading scientists and experts in the field of rhino conservation state in a new paper that it is safe to consider the Sumatran rhinoceros extinct in the wild in Malaysia. The survival of the Sumatran rhino now depends on the 100 or fewer remaining individuals in the wild in Indonesia and the nine rhinos in captivity.

Despite intensive survey efforts, there have been no signs of the wild Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) in Malaysia since 2007, apart from two females that were captured for breeding purposes in 2011 and 2014. Scientists now consider the species extinct in the wild in Malaysia. The experts urge conservation efforts in Indonesia to pick up the pace.

The conclusions are published online in Oryx, the International Journal of Conservation, led by the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen. Partners include WWF, the International Rhino Foundation and IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which is in charge of the global Red List of Threatened Species.

Surviving rhinos are too far apart

"It is vital for the survival of the species that all remaining Sumatran rhinos are viewed as a metapopulation, meaning that all are managed in a single program across national and international borders in order to maximize overall birth rate. This includes the individuals currently held in captivity," says lead author and PhD student Rasmus Gren HavmĂžller from the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate.

The experts point to the creation of intensive management zones as a solution; areas with increased protection against poaching, where individual rhinos can be relocated to, in order to increase the number of potential and suitable mating partners.

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