AT LAST, A POTENTIAL MATE FOR TAM!

Wild female rhino Puntung was finally captured on 18th December 2011, after a wait of more than one and a half years. Puntung was found in an area of Tabin Wildlife Reserve where no signs of any male rhinos have been seen for several years, so it was unlikely she would be able to breed in the wild.

Estimated at about 10-12 years old, and lean and healthy, Puntung will hopefully be able to mate naturally with male rhino Tam who has been in captivity in Tabin since 2008.

This is a huge boost for the prospects of captive breeding of this Critically Endangered species and we wish the BORA team and the rhinos the best of luck in 2012!

Puntung in a temporary paddock where she was placed after capture, before being helicoptered to her new home in Tabin on Christmas Day! Photo: BORA/Abdul Hamid Ahmad

Puntung has no hooves on her front left foot, hence her name which means ‘stump’ in Malay. Examination of her foot revealed that the terminal bones of the leg were missing, a sure sign that the foot had been ripped off by a snare trap when she was an infant. Miraculously, she survived!

Male rhino Tam in his night stall prior to the arrival of Puntung, with BORA vet and Field Manager Dr Zainal Z. Zainuddin.

Described as a ‘Christmas miracle’ in the press, Puntung’s capture was reported across the world and made headlines in the local media, and has been hailed as a new and auspicious start to 2012 for rhino conservation.

In the New Sabah Times 25 December 2011

Daily Express 25 December 2011

Borneo Post 25 December 2011

OTHER NEWS

In fact Sumatran rhinos have appeared quite a bit in the press in recent weeks. LEAP facilitated the publication of several articles written by Dr Junaidi Payne of BORA in the national and local press, in particular in relation to the recent disturbing announcement of the extinction of the Javan rhino in Vietnam, and its implications for Sumatran rhino conservation.

On the ground, the Rhino Quarantine Facility at Tabin has been completed and a temporary water supply connected. Solar power was installed at the end of November.

Photovoltaic cells on the roof of the Rhino Quarantine Facility

Elderly female rhino Gelogob was moved to the Rhino Quarantine Facility on 23rd August 2011 and seems to have settled in well. Tests carried out by Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), Berlin at the end of October confirmed that Gelogob is unfortunately unable to produce any eggs, and attempts to induce ovulation will cease.

Moving Gelogob to the Rhino Quarantine Facility

Gelogob in her new wallow

Work on the construction of the 1.24km road to the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary (BRS) facilities commenced in August but then lapsed again due to the return of wet weather. Funding from the federal government to build BRS is still not available and alternative funding is being sought from the Sabah government.

New gravel road leading to the proposed Borneo Rhino Sanctuary site

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