LETTER: The possible discovery of a rhino footprint in forest in Sabah was announced at a seminar on Danum Valley on 6 December 2016.
Given the nature of the evidence provided and all the collective field work by various agencies up to the present, it is highly unlikely that there are wild rhinos surviving anywhere in Sabah.
Prevention of the extinction of this ancient genus, distinct from the African and Indian species, has long gone beyond retaining a few individuals in the wild.
Rescue from the brink will not entail protecting a few stragglers in the wild because for the past few decades there have been too few individuals in any one area to form a viable breeding population.
Success can come only through implementation of a single program that allows every remaining Sumatran rhino, whether in Malaysia or Indonesia, to contribute its genes to producing babies.
Even though about a quarter of all remaining Sumatran rhinos have significant reproductive pathologies, rapidly advancing reproductive and cellular technologies can be tapped to boost the rate at which embryos are made.
This is the line that Borneo Rhino Alliance is taking, a policy supported by Government of Sabah and Malaysia.
- John Payne aka Datuk Dr Junaidy Payne is Executive Director of Borneo Rhino Alliance of BORA.