KOTA KINABALU: Veterinarians and wildlife officials are keeping their fingers crossed as they begin treatment on the severely ill Iman, Malaysia’s last female Sumatran rhino.
Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said veterinarians caring for Iman at the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Lahad Datu were finally able to get close to the animal yesterday morning.
“She finally left her mud wallow and our veterinarians immediately began treating her bleeding uterus,” he said.
“With the treatment, our veterinarians are hoping for the best for Iman.
“We are doing everything possible to make her well again.”
Tuuga said Iman began bleeding from a uterine leiomyoma tumour three days ago and this could usually be treated with medication and supplements.
For wildlife conservationists here, Iman is their last hope of making sure that the unique Sumatran rhino does not die out in the country.
Iman was rescued from Sabah’s lost world – the Danum Valley – in 2014 and was later placed at Tabin for a captive breeding programme to save the species.
Iman and another female rhino, Puntung, as well as a male rhino, 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.
Any hope of a breeding programme was further dashed when scientists were unable to recover any eggs from Puntung’s ovaries.