KOTA KINABALU: Iman, the country’s last surviving female Sumatran rhino, is in a life-threatening situation and veterinarians cannot do much for it at the moment.
Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said Iman began bleeding from a uterine leiomyoma tumour three days ago.
“Usually, this can be treated with medication and supplements,” Tuuga said yesterday.
“However, Iman is refusing to leave her mud wallow and she has hardly eaten, so the usual treatment is not possible.
“She charges at anyone who comes near.”
Tuuga said it is possible that the ruptured tumour is causing Iman pain.
Veterinarians are finding it difficult to examine Iman at its paddock in the Wildlife Reserve in Tabin, near the east coast Lahad Datu district.
This is because the heavy rainfall in Tabin this year has turned the paddock into a quagmire.
“Both Borneo Rhino Alliance veterinarians are constantly monitoring Iman along with the keepers.
“We are hoping for the best,” Tuuga said.
Iman and another female, Puntung, as well as a male, Tam, were the last three Sumatran rhinos in the country and scientists had hoped to get them to breed to revive the species.
However, wildlife experts had to euthanise Puntung in June after its skin cancer spread, causing the animal to suffer greatly.
Hopes of starting an artificial rhino breeding programme were dashed when scientists were unable to recover any eggs from Puntung’s ovaries.