Poaching may destroy last Sumatran rhinos

March 19, 2006

Poaching has greatly reduced Malaysia's population of Sumatran rhinoceroses, but a small group of 13 are holding on, says the World Wildlife Fund.

More than 100 field staff from the Sabah Foundation, the Sabah Wildlife Department, the World Wildlife Fund, Sabah Forestry Department, Sabah Parks, S.O.S. Rhino, Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Project, University Malaysia Sabah and Operation Raleigh conducted the survey.

"If this band of rhinos is to have a healthy future in Borneo the poaching must be stopped immediately -- their numbers are so small that losing one or two rhinos to a poacher could upset the remaining rhinos' chances of survival," said Sybille Klenzendorf, lead biologist of WWF's Species Conservation Program.

"Conservationists and Sabah government agencies are hopeful that there is a chance to save this group of rhinos and are diligently working to protect them."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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