Tam, the last male Sumatran rhino in Malaysia, died and left a female rhino as the last of its species in the country, authorities reported.

“Regrettably, Tam died at mid-day, around noon on Monday (May 27). Invariably, everything that could possibly have been done, was done, and executed with great love and dedication,” Datuk Christina Liew, the tourism, culture and environment minister of Malaysia said.

Tam, the last male Sumatran rhino died today. (Borneo Rhino Alliance)

“His last weeks involved the most intense palliative care humanly possible, rendered by the Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA) team under veterinarian Dr. Zainal Zahari Zainuddin, at the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary in Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Lahad Datu,” she added.

The rhino was just around 20 years old when it was captured by the wildlife team back in August 2008. His name, Tam, came from the Kertam palm oil plantation in Sabah, where he was caught. Tam was the favorite of the experts and visitors, because of his calm and steady personality.

Healthy and happy, however, the rhino’s well-being abruptly declined late April this year, according to the wildlife department in the Malaysian Bornean state of Sabah.


“It is now well into old age for a Sumatran rhino,” Augustine Tuuga, the director of the department, said in a statement last week. He added that Tam had also suffered from multiple organ failures.

Iman, the last surviving female Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) in Malaysia, is left as the last rhino in Malaysia. She was captured in 2014 for a possible captive-breeding program, but she never produced any offspring nor did she have any viable eggs.

Just like Tam, Iman’s health has also been declining after suffering from a ruptured tumor in her uterus two years ago. 

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