Iman the rhino: Still ill, but some medical problems resolved

iman-rhinoKOTA KINABALU: Malaysia’s last female Sumatran rhino is still ill although some of her medical problems have been resolved, an official has said.

Iman was reported as seriously ill on Dec 17, having bled from her uterine leiomyoma tumours three days previously.

“Iman has still not recovered from her illness, particularly the bleeding from within the uterus,” Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said in an advisory today.

“Her other problems with dehydration and constipation have been resolved.”

Augustine said Iman’s appetite, although improved, was still insignificant.

“She consumes about 5kg daily, which is about 20% of her normal feed intake,” said Augustine.

“She started taking small amounts of fruits. We started to put in a small amount of medication inside her fruits to try and stop the bleeding.”

According to the director, Iman urinates a few times daily but only defecates once in 1-2 days.

“She drinks a lot of water and supplements. She vocalises more, which is good.

“Hope she eats more tomorrow,” said Augustine.

Iman, which is being kept at the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Lahad Datu, is the last female Sumatran rhino after another, Puntung, was put to sleep in June.

Puntung, which attracted global attention for enduring dental surgery by a multinational team at the reserve, was dying of squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.

The genomes of all four of the last Sumatran rhinos in Malaysia, including Puntung, are being kept in living cell cultures, both overseas and locally.