No more sightings of Sumatran rhino in Sabah, says minister

(AFP pic)

KOTA KINABALU: The Sumatran rhinoceros has no longer been sighted in Sabah, according to studies conducted at the Ulu Segama Forest Reserve and Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Lahad Datu.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Christina Liew said the studies were collaborations between the ministry, through the Wildlife Department, with NGOs like the Borneo Rhino Alliance and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Malaysia.

The studies looked at the population of the Sumatran rhinoceros in both areas as well as in the Ulu Malua Forest Reserve which were previously identified as having a population of these animals.

Liew said the studies were started in 1978 as part of a Faunal Survey of Sabah which is still ongoing.

She said the methods used to detect the animals include forest exploration and camera traps.

“However, these studies did not find any footprints of the Sumatran rhinoceros or record any photographs of them. This means that these areas no longer have a population of the Sumatran rhinoceros,” she said at the Sabah state assembly sitting here today.

Liew was replying to a question from Calvin Chong (DAP-Elopura) who asked about a report on the discovery of footprints after 2016 and what steps have been taken about the habitats of these animals.

Liew, who is also a Sabah deputy chief minister, said the Ulu Segama Forest Reserve and Tabin Wildlife Reserve are still a suitable habitat for the Sumatran rhinoceros.