The World Wildlife Fund recognizes the Sumatran Rhinoceros as a "critically endangered" animal species. That said, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why animal care experts are doing everything they can to help Malaysia’s last surviving specimen after she suddenly became gravely ill.
Image Credit: Borneo Rhino Alliance
She goes by the name Iman, and as it would seem, she’s having a bit of trouble with uterine leiomyoma tumors that began bleeding three or so days ago. Animal experts at the scene believe that one of these tumors may have ruptured, causing discomfort in addition to the bleeding.
Veterinarians typically treat these kinds of conditions with both medicine and supplements, but that doesn’t seem to be working in Iman’s case. She continues to refuse all food that the medical professionals offer her, and she becomes exceedingly aggressive whenever anyone approaches her.
“This time, Iman is refusing to leave her mud wallow, and she has hardly eaten, so the usual treatment has not been possible. She charges at anyone who comes near,” said Augustine Tuuga, the director of Sabah Wildlife Department.
To make matters worse, excess rainfall has turned Iman’s habitat in the Tabin Forest Reserve of Sabah into a swampy, mushy mess. That said, accessing the animal is even more challenging than usual.
Sadly, the animal experts’ inability to treat Iman safely means that she’s mostly on her own regarding her recovery. All they can do is monitor her situation from a safe distance, and things purportedly don’t too hopeful at this point.
With fewer than 100 Sumatran Rhinoceroses in the world, every single living specimen makes a difference for animal conservation efforts. We can only hope that no other Sumatran Rhinos suffer from the same problems as Iman.