With population estimates of Sumatran rhinos (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) reduced to less than 100 individuals, a ground-breaking agreement to save the Critically Endangered species was reached today between representatives of the Indonesian and Malaysian governments. The agreement was formed at a summit convened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC), involving a wide range of international and national organisations.
This is the first time the two countries join their efforts to address the dire state of the species, of which the last wild populations are believed to survive in Sumatra, western Indonesia and Sabah, Malaysia. The two governments now need to formalize the collaboration and agree on the next steps to tackle the Sumatran rhino crisis. Experts gathered at the summit have made a proposal for a two-year emergency action plan as an immediate follow-up to the event.
“Serious steps must be taken to roll back the tide of extinction of the Sumatran rhino,” says Widodo Ramono, Executive Director of Yayasan Badak Indonesia (YABI). “This could be our last opportunity to save this species and, by working together as a collaborative unit, internationally and regionally, with an agreed vision and goals, a glimmer of hope has been clearly demonstrated. We need to act together urgently, hand in hand, replicating some of the inspirational successes of other conservation efforts and aim to stop any failures that might impede progress.”
“We would like to reiterate Sabah’s commitment and our willingness to further discuss with Indonesia opportunities to exchange reproductive cells of the species, move individual rhinos between our countries and to employ advanced reproductive technology as a parallel initiative in the Sumatran rhino captive breeding programme,” says Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu, Director of the Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah, Malaysia. More....