KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is offering the eggs of its last remaining female Sumatran rhino Iman for fertilisation with male rhinos from Indonesia, says Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew.
Malaysia is also offering its expertise and experience on rhino
conservation in Sabah in the hope of reversing the threat of extinction of these animals, she said.
“Together we will be able to reverse the Sumatran rhino’s fate,” Liew, who is Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, said in a statement from WWF Malaysia.
Liew said the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) along with the Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA) and WWF-Malaysia had called for Indonesia and Malaysia to collaborate under a single programme to increase the number of rhino births.This means the eggs or sperm from every rhino, whether reproductively optimum or not, contributes to the survival of the genus, she said adding towards this end, the Sabah government invites Indonesia to accept the eggs from Iman.
Scientists and experts working on the ground to save the species from extinction, the statement said, would support collaboration by the two countries.
BORA’s executive chairman Prof Dr Abdul Hamid Ahmad said using the sperm and eggs of rhinos that can no longer breed naturally to initiate vitro fertilization attempts is long overdue.
WWF-Malaysia offered the support of the WWF network to facilitate the collaboration between Malaysia and Indonesia.
“We are optimistic that if we act now and act together, the extinction of the genus Dicerorhinus can be prevented,” said WWF Malaysia chief executive officer Sophia Lim.
WWF is also expected to highlight the issue at the on going three-day International Congress on Conservation Biology (ICCB) 2019, in Kuala Lumpur, which started on Monday. International conservationists want Indonesia and Malaysia to work together and save the species that is fast facing extinction with the death of Tam, Malaysia’s last male Sumatran rhino earlier this year.
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