Malaysia’s last surviving male Sumatran rhino died on Monday afternoon, leaving behind just one female in the whole country.
The rhino, affectionately known as Tam, was believed to have been in his 30s and had reportedly been suffering from kidney and liver damage before his death.
WWF Malaysia confirmed the animal’s death in a statement on Facebook on Monday, saying: “Today, we bid farewell to Tam, our last surviving male Sumatran rhino. Our hearts are filled with sadness as we mourn not only the loss of wildlife but the loss of a species. With Tam gone, we now only have Iman left, our last female rhino.”
The organisation continued: “If we are not careful, the Sumatran rhino will not be the only species that will go extinct under our watch. Our other prized wildlife like elephants, pangolins, bantengs and clouded leopards will also likely meet the same fate if we don’t protect them now.”
Tam had lived in a nature reserve on Borneo Island since his capture in 2008. Now Iman, a female captured in 2014, is the only surviving Sumatran rhino in captivity in Malaysia.
“Regrettably, Tam died at mid-day, around noon,” Malaysia’s State Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Christina Liew said in a statement on Tuesday morning, according to news.com.au.
“Invariably, everything that could possibly have been done, was done, and executed with great love and dedication.”
According to National Geographic, Sumatran rhinos are the world’s smallest rhinoceros species and also the smallest in numbers, with less than 80 left in the wild.