Tam, Sabah’s Last Male Sumatran Rhino, Is Dead

In happier times, a photo of Puntung, left, in playful mood with Kertam. Now both are dead.

KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia’s last male Sumatran rhino, Tam, has died, following an abrupt decline in health due to old age, sources say.

Tam, short form for Kertam was pronounced dead shortly after noon Monday, BorneoToday has learnt.

Sabah is now left with one last Sumatran rhino, a female, Iman, whose own health has weakened due to a ruptured tumor in her uterus.

The rhino known affectionately as Tam, was captured by a wildlife team in August 2008 when he was roughly 20 years old.

In a statement last week, Augustine Tuuga, the Director of the Sabah Wildlife Department said Tham had showed an abrupt decline in appetite and alertness since late April this year

“It is now well into old age for a Sumatran rhino,” the department’s director, said in a statement on May 19. Tuuga added there were indications Tam had suffered multiple organ failure.

Tam was captured in a palm oil plantation in Sabah, Malaysia, by a team of wildlife experts in 2008. Image courtesy of the Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA).

Veterinarians and rhino keepers have been providing round-the-clock medical treatment, according to the department.

Iman, a female, is now the last surviving Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) in Sabah. Captured in 2014 for a captive-breeding program, Iman has never borne offspring or even viable eggs.

She has also showed signs of poor health, suffering a ruptured tumor in her uterus in December 2017.

That incident occurred less than six months after the death of Puntung, Malaysia’s only other female Sumatran rhino at the time.

Puntung, captured in 2011, was euthanized on June 4 after suffering for three months from skin cancer.