April 21, 2014

Charity polo tourney to save rhinos

by Kathleen A. Michael, The Star Online

The Star metd_dz_1210_p21a

Precious pair: Tabin Wildlife Reserve currently houses a fertile male rhinoceros, Tam, and a sub-fertile female rhinoceros, Puntung.

THE Sumatran rhinoceros once thrived throughout South-East Asia but the species is now confined to the islands of Borneo and Sumatera.

Today, they are considered the most critically endangered wildlife in the world. There are fewer than 10 Sumatran rhinos in Sabah and fewer than 100 in Sumatera, Indonesia.

Currently, Sabah has a fertile male named Tam and a sub-fertile female named Puntung at the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary interim facilities in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve. There is also another female rhino, Gelogob, who is too old to breed at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park.

The species has almost disappeared because there are only a small number of rhinos left in any one place, making breeding in the wild difficult.There are plans to confine the last remaining Sumatran rhinos for breeding within a natural forest. Last month, the construction of a breeding and holding facility commenced at Datum Valley, an area believed to hold the last remaining fertile Sumatran rhino in Malaysia.

A charity polo tournament is being organised to raise funds to support the construction. The Rhino Cup, in partnership with Borneo Rhino Alliance (Bora), aims to raise a minimum of RM100,000 towards the cost of building the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary in Danum Valley.

“We aim to assist Bora in their efforts to breed rhinoceroses,” said Rhino Cup head organiser Adilla Jamaludin.

The event will also feature a bazaar and live music from Blastique, Victor Trixter and a-marQ during the day while Gregory Ramanado and Bazli will entertain the crowd at night.

It will be held from 3pm on Oct 20 at the Royal Selangor Polo Club.

The event is open to all with an admission fee of RM20. For details visit www.facebook.com/therhinocup.

 

Joint Efforts to Breed Sumatran Rhinos in the Offing

JAKARTA, 11 December 2012. 

The aim to work together to save this rhino species which is nearing extinction was further cemented during a recent visit to the Way Kambas National Park Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) in Lampung Province, Sumatra in Indonesia.

Globally, there are only 11 live Sumatran rhinos in managed breeding facilities namely in Way Kambas, Borneo Rhino Sanctuary (BRS) in Sabah and Cincinnati Zoo in USA, while the numbers in the wild are believed to be dwindling in a continuing trend, with less than 150 rhinos currently in existence.

The Sumatran rhino is Malaysia’s most endangered wildlife species, and very small wild populations are believed to exist only on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo.

Tun Musa Hitam and Erwin Arifin, Bupati of Lampung Timur District, exchange gifts at Way Kambas National Park, 4 November 2012

Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD), the philanthropic arm of the Sime Darby Group, has committed RM11.4 million over six years from 2009 towards efforts to breed the Sumatran rhinos at the BRS in Sabah.

Efforts to share and exchange technological, genetic and biological information and experience, and possibly even gametes (eggs and sperm), were among the discussion topics during the trip to SRS made by officials from the Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA), Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) and Yayasan Badak Indonesia (YABI).

The trip to the SRS by the officials was to see the new baby rhino, Andatu, born five months ago, and the first ever Sumatran rhino birth in captivity in Indonesia.

Led by YSD chairman Tun Musa Hitam, the delegation also made a courtesy call on Indonesian Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan in Jakarta, the day after the trip to Lampung.

Tun Musa said the Minister agreed that both parties could and should work together to breed the rhinos in managed sanctuaries, in order to increase the depleting population.

“We want to ride on the success of our Indonesian counterparts to breed the rhinos as we are also trying hard to do the same. We can learn from their experiences and collaborate.

“We need to have the endorsement of both the Indonesian and Malaysian governments for the exchange of information, biological materials and expertise.

Andatu, born 23 June 2012 at Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way KambasNational Park, with his mother Ratu, who was captured from the wildnear Way Kambas in 2005. Andatu's father Andalas was born inCincinnati Zoo in 2001. This success story supports the notions thatthe Sumatran rhino might be saved from extinction only throughintensive care in fenced sanctuary conditions. And that collaborationbetween Indonesia and Malaysia with global zoos and researchinstitutions will be needed in order to provide enough gametes (eggsand sperm) and the best reproductive technology

Andatu, born 23 June 2012 at Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park, with his mother Ratu, who was captured from the wild near Way Kambas in 2005. Andatu’s father Andalas was born in Cincinnati Zoo in 2001. This success story supports the notions that the Sumatran rhino might be saved from extinction only through intensive care in fenced sanctuary conditions. And that collaboration between Indonesia and Malaysia with global zoos and research institutions will be needed in order to provide enough gametes (eggs and sperm) and the best reproductive technology.

“We should work on all areas of cooperation and consideration should also include exchange of rhinos,” he added. Andatu’s father, Andalas, was the first Sumatran rhino born in captivity after 112 years in 2001, in Cincinnati Zoo. He was paired with Ratu in 2009, at the Sumatran Rhinoceros Sanctuary within the Way Kambas National Park in Sumatra, Indonesia. Despite two consecutive miscarriages, Ratu delivered Andatu after a 16-month third and successful pregnancy.

Efforts are now underway at the BRS in Sabah for Puntung to conceive. She was airlifted from a solitary life on a hill range in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve on 25 December 2011, in a dramatic operation, as a mate for the male rhino Tam, who is also at the BRS facility. It is hoped that the duo would be able to produce an offspring to help save their species from impending extinction.

Puntung’s foot is believed to have been ripped off in a poacher’s snare trap when she was a small infant but, miraculously, the wound healed and she survived. However, she has problems with endometrial cysts in the lining of her womb, possibly as a result of long periods in the wild without reproductive activity. This problem is being addressed with the help of rhino reproductive experts from the Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin.

The BRS programme, initiated by the Sabah government in 2009, aims to prevent the extinction of the Sumatran rhino, the only wild species of rhino in Malaysia.

A Sumatran Rhino Crisis Summit themed “Last chance to act!” will be held in Singapore in April 2013 to bring together existing local experts and concerned people and others who have been involved with similarly endangered species in other parts of the world over the past few decades.

Among the success stories of bringing back other species “on the edge” of extinction include the Californian condor, black footed ferret, crested Ibis, red wolf, Indian rhino and white rhino, all of which nearly went extinct but are now increasing in numbers.

The Summit is also a global effort to save the rhinos from suffering the same fate as the now extinct Yangtze river dolphin (2007), the Javan rhino in Vietnam (2010), and the northern white rhino (extinct in the wild by 2008, but with a small number in captivity).

Read the original here

Critically endangered Sumatran rhinos to receive artificial insemination

By Sujadi Siswo, Channelnewsasia

JAKARTA, 11 December 2012: There is a ray of light at the end of the tunnel for the conservation of the almost extinct Sumatran rhinos. In collaboration with non-governmental organisations, enhanced cooperation and joint efforts are being considered by relevant authorities in Malaysia and Indonesia to increase the remaining tiny rhino populations in both nations.

The aim to work together to save this rhino species which is nearing extinction was further cemented during a recent visit to the Way Kambas National Park Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) in Lampung Province, Sumatra in Indonesia.

Globally, there are only 11 live Sumatran rhinos in managed breeding facilities namely in Way Kambas, Borneo Rhino Sanctuary (BRS) in Sabah and Cincinnati Zoo in USA, while the numbers in the wild are believed to be dwindling in a continuing trend, with less than 150 rhinos currently in existence.

The Sumatran rhino is Malaysia’s most endangered wildlife species, and very small wild populations are believed to exist only on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo.

Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD), the philanthropic arm of the Sime Darby Group, has committed RM11.4 million over six years from 2009 towards efforts to breed the Sumatran rhinos at the BRS in Sabah.

Efforts to share and exchange technological, genetic and biological information and experience, and possibly even gametes (eggs and sperm), were among the discussion topics during the trip to SRS made by officials from the Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA), Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) and Yayasan Badak Indonesia (YABI).

The trip to the SRS by the officials was to see the new baby rhino, Andatu, born five months ago, and the first ever Sumatran rhino birth in captivity in Indonesia.

Led by YSD chairman Tun Musa Hitam, the delegation also made a courtesy call on Indonesian Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan in Jakarta, the day after the trip to Lampung.

Tun Musa said the Minister agreed that both parties could and should work together to breed the rhinos in managed sanctuaries, in order to increase the depleting population.

Manggala Wanabakti, Jakarta. (left to right) Drs. Widodo Ramono, executive director, Indonesian Rhino Foundation; H. Zulkifli Hasan, Minister of Forestry Indonesia; Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman, Sime Darby Foundation; Hjh. Yatela Zainal Abidin, chief executive officer, Sime Darby Foundation; Mohd. Ghozali Yahya, Minamas Plantation.

 

“We want to ride on the success of our Indonesian counterparts to breed the rhinos as we are also trying hard to do the same. We can learn from their experiences and collaborate.

“We need to have the endorsement of both the Indonesian and Malaysian governments for the exchange of information, biological materials and expertise.

“We should work on all areas of cooperation and consideration should also include exchange of rhinos,” he added. Andatu’s father, Andalas, was the first Sumatran rhino born in captivity after 112 years in 2001, in Cincinnati Zoo. He was paired with Ratu in 2009, at the Sumatran Rhinoceros Sanctuary within the Way Kambas National Park in Sumatra, Indonesia. Despite two consecutive miscarriages, Ratu delivered Andatu after a 16-month third and successful pregnancy.

Efforts are now underway at the BRS in Sabah for Puntung to conceive. She was airlifted from a solitary life on a hill range in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve on 25 December 2011, in a dramatic operation, as a mate for the male rhino Tam, who is also at the BRS facility. It is hoped that the duo would be able to produce an offspring to help save their species from impending extinction.

BORA puntung thumbnailPuntung’s foot is believed to have been ripped off in a poacher’s snare trap when she was a small infant but, miraculously, the wound healed and she survived. However, she has problems with endometrial cysts in the lining of her womb, possibly as a result of long periods in the wild without reproductive activity. This problem is being addressed with the help of rhino reproductive experts from the Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin.

The BRS programme, initiated by the Sabah government in 2009, aims to prevent the extinction of the Sumatran rhino, the only wild species of rhino in Malaysia.

A Sumatran Rhino Crisis Summit themed “Last chance to act!” will be held in Singapore in April 2013 to bring together existing local experts and concerned people and others who have been involved with similarly endangered species in other parts of the world over the past few decades.

Among the success stories of bringing back other species “on the edge” of extinction include the Californian condor, black footed ferret, crested Ibis, red wolf, Indian rhino and white rhino, all of which nearly went extinct but are now increasing in numbers.

The Summit is also a global effort to save the rhinos from suffering the same fate as the now extinct Yangtze river dolphin (2007), the Javan rhino in Vietnam (2010), and the northern white rhino (extinct in the wild by 2008, but with a small number in captivity).

Read the original here

Hope for a rhino family – The Star

Animal care: Veterinarians Dr Hildebrand, Dr Robert Hermes and Borneo Rhinoceros Alliance’s Dr Zainal Abdul Hamid (standing) doing an ultrasound on Puntung.

By Ruben Sario

KOTA KINABALU: A team of veterinarians is treating a female rhino in the east coast Lahad Datu district in the hope that the animal will eventually be able to breed.

Puntung, the sole fertile female Sumatran rhino at the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary (BRS) in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, had been examined and treated in the past several months to improve her chances of conceiving.

Borneo Rhinoceros Alliance (Bora) executive director Dr Junaidi Payne said the examination was carried out by specialist veterinarians from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin, led by Dr Thomas Hildebrand.

The veterinarian team was roped in after an ultrasound examination on Feb 24 showed that Puntung was suffering from endometrial cyst growth, a painful condition that could hinder the sperm from reaching the ova as well as prevent the implantation of embryos on the uterine wall.

Dr Payne said BRS officials were now deciding whether to let Puntung breed naturally or opt for artificial insemination.

Sabah Wildlife Department rangers had airlifed Puntung from a solitary life on a hill range at Tabin two years ago to be a mate for the male rhino, Ketam, at the sanctuary.

Wildlife conservationists were hoping that both animals would eventually be able to produce an offspring to help save the highly endangered species, of which only an estimated 200 were left in the wild in Sabah and Sumatra.

The Sabah government had initiated the BRS in 2009 to stave off the extinction of the Sumatran rhinos here with Yayasan Sime Darby, contributing RM5mil to the cause over the past three years.

The foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Sime Darby Group, had also committed another RM6.4mil for the development and operation of the BRS programme over the next three years.

Meanwhile, Bora chairman Dr Abdul Hamid Ahmad said the priority in the husbandry of captive wildlife was the animal’s health, including reducing all forms of biological and mental stress.

“There is no point in maintaining a breeding programme if animals die through poor hygiene and if their reproductive potential is depressed through stress,” he said.

Read the article in The Star

 

 

Precious rhino may need extra help to mate – Daily Express

 


 

Daily Express, 15 Jan 2012

Confidence soars over capture of ‘star’ female rhino – Daily Express

 

 

 

Plans drawn to save rhinos from extinction – Borneo Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Borneo Post. January 15 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhino breeding facility urgently needed – Borneo Post

 

Borneo Post, Jan 15 2012

Last chance to save Borneo rhino

A female mate for Tam at Christmas spells survival hope for species

Borneo Sumatran rhino Puntung in her temporary enclosure in the Tabin forest.

It is hailed as a Christmas miracle which spells hope of survival for the almost extinct Borneo Sumatran rhinoceros. After three years of searching, the Sabah Wildlife Department and the Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA) have announced that they have captured a young female one in the Sabah rainforest. Named “Puntung”, she is between 20 and 30 years old. And she has been airlifted into a forest enclosure of 20 hectares in the Tabin Wildlife Forest Reserve where she is expected to mate with Tam, a 20-year-old rhino which was rescued in 2008 while wandering in an oil palm estate.

“It is an ideal age for breeding,” says Junaidi Payne, executive director of BORA. But previous attempts in the 1980s and 90s to breed Borneo Sumatran rhinos in captivity failed. Payne is “cautiously optimistic” that this time it might succeed.

He notes that they don’t seem to mate in the wild. “We have monitored her since 2007 and there is no sign that any other rhino has entered her range in the past five years,” Payne says.

Nobody knows how many Borneo Sumatran rhinos remain; but wildlife officials say there may be less than 40 of them. – Insight Sabah (29 Dec 2011).

Open to any steps on saving the rhino

Sumatran Rhino

By Daily Express – February 10, 2011

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah is open to all genetic resource banking reproductive possibilities with German and American help as a “desperate measure in desperate times” to save its last Sumatran rhinos from extinction.

State Wildlife Director Dr Laurentius Ambu told a gathering of top world rhino propagation experts at the Sumatran Rhinoceros Global Management and Propagation Board (GMPB) dinner Tuesday night at Rasa Ria Resort, Tuaran: “I think we can all agree, that giving up is not an option.”

Dr Ambu said near complete failures in past captive breeding programmes here and in Indonesia makes it clear that Sabah needs to “do some new things.” The largely failed captive propagation efforts is evident from such statistics that of the 43 Sumatran rhinos brought into captive conditions from the wild between 1984 and 2008 (Sabah and Indonesia combined), only one pair produced offsprings (and in Cincinnati Zoo of all places).

The bad news is that while there are no recent Sumatran rhino births in captive conditions, populations in the wild appear to continue to decline, or at best not increase, despite best efforts at protecting the habitat as well as the rhinos.

Ambu said at least two measures have to be considered. ”One is to boost the genetic diversity by capturing a few more wild rhinos and then try to raise the prospects for successful natural breeding in captive populations. ”We are pursuing this option in Sabah and since April 2010 we have been targeting to capture a specific young female rhino from the wild,” he said.

The second is to pursue artificial insemination. This is where German expertise from the Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, is coming in to assist through “an attempt to induce ovulation in captive females named Gelogob through hormone treatment” – an option Sabah is not doing currently because Gelogob is past its normal reproductive age.

“This time, Sabah is getting into a must-genetic resource banking, on top of doing our best to get more births of Sumatran rhinos in captive conditions,” Dr Ambu pointed out.

“This means we’ll be doing cryo-preservation of semen, oocytes, ovarian tissue and embryos,” Ambu explained.

“By doing that, the prospect remains open that the species can be saved from extinction, whatever happens in the next few years in terms of success or failure with natural or assisted breeding,” Ambu added.

Prof. Heribert Hofer said he is “optimistic” for the Sumatran rhino, citing the Indian rhino which once fell to single digit in numbers but has been raised up to “thousands” now.

“The good news is despite all the continuing odds against the Sumatran rhino, the species stubbornly refuses to go extinct,” he noted.

“There are still Sumatran rhinos in the same protected areas which were their strongholds in 1995, such as Indonesia’s Bukit Barisan Selatan, Way Kambas, Gunung Leuser and Sabah’s Danum Valley and Tabin Wildlife Reserve,” Ambu added.

“The other good news is we can confirm that the Sumatran and Borneo forms of the rhino are genetically close. We may be confident that mixing the two for breeding does have scientific backing.

“It remains only for agreement at the policy level to allow us to proceed.”

The rhino global captive propagation programme has probably lost two precious decades due to bad collaboration.

It was initiated at a landmark IUCN-led meeting 26 years ago in 1984 in Singapore, represented by Sabah, Malaysia, Indonesia, USA, UK, governments and NGOs who agreed that conservation of the Sumatran Rhino should be prioritised.

In the same year, the global captive breeding programme involving Indonesia, Malaysia, USA and United Kingdom, was launched but the different partners went their own ways and collaboration was not ideal. But judging by the convergence of a throng of the best German, American, British, Malaysian and Indonesian experts at the GMPB meeting at Rasa Ria to work out the best last ditch propagation measures, “desperate times” seems to be healing the broken collaboration.

The Sumatran rhinoceros once inhabited rainforests, swamps and cloud forests in India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and China, but now they are critically endangered, with only six substantial populations in the wild – four in Sumatra, one in Borneo and another in Peninsular Malaysia.

The experts present include Dr Susie Ellis, executive director of International Rhino Foundation, Dr Heribert Hofer, Director of Leibnitz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research which focuses on “complicated species” such as the rhino, Dr Terri Roth, Director of Cincinnati Zoo’s Center for Conservation & Research for Endangered Wildlife (CREW) which distinguished itself for successfully reproducing the first Sumatran Rhino calf in captivity in 2001, Dr Nan Schaffer of SOS Rhino, Widodo Ramono, chairman of GMPB cum executive director of the Indonesia’s Rhino Foundation, Dr Arun Ventakaraman of WWF-Malaysia, Datuk Dr Junaidi Payne, executive director of Bora and others.

Datuk Ellron Angin, Assistant Minister of Culture, Tourism and Environment represented his Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun.