Tuesday, November 29, 2005

No more rhinos left in south Malaysia forest

The last five were killed by poachers

(PTI)

Kuala Lumpur: The last five endangered Sumatran rhinos living in a southern Malaysian forest reserve park are believed to have been killed by poachers, a conservationist said Monday.

Vincent Chow, an adviser to the Malaysian Nature Society, said indigenous people who live on the fringes of the Endau Rompin National Park in Johor state and regularly roam the area have failed to find any sign of the animals.

If they are indeed dead, it could be a fatal blow to the dwindling population of the Sumatran Rhinoceros in Malaysia. Besides Johor, another 80 to 100 rhinos are believed to exist in the wild in other national parks in the country, according to official estimates. Conservationists say the number might be smaller.

Chow blamed poachers who hunt the rhino for its horn and other body parts. The animal is worth about 100,000 ringgit (US$26,315; euro22,300) each on the black market, he said.

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