Malaysia’s Last Sumatran Rhino Has Died

Alfie PowellAlfie Powell in News, World
Published 25.11.19

Malaysia’s last Sumatran rhino has passed away, making the species now extinct in the country.

The last known Sumatran rhino in Malaysia, 25-year-old female, Iman, sadly lost her life after a five-year battle with cancer she was found to have after her capture in 2014.

Her death came as no surprise given her illness, but Iman’s death in Sabah on the island of Borneo still hit hard on everyone who cared for her and her species.


Augustine Tuuga, the director of the Sabah wildlife department told reporters:

Iman’s death came rather sooner than we had expected, but we knew that she was starting to suffer significant pain.

iman dead sumatran rhino

The was echoed by Christina Liew, Sabah’s environment minister, who added:

Despite us knowing that this would happen sooner rather than later, we are so very saddened by this news.


Its death was a natural one, and the immediate cause has been categorised as shock. Iman was given the very best care and attention since her capture in March 2014 right up to the moment she passed.”


The Sumatran rhino species once had huge numbers across Asia, but after the death of Iman, their numbers are no more than 100.

There were attempts to have Malaysia’s last male Sumatran rhino and Iman mate, but the male sadly passed away last year with many unsuccessful attempts happening prior.

There are many factors at play in the dwindling numbers of these rhinos, with poaching and humans encroaching on their environment part of it, but the solitary nature of the animals is also to blame.


The animals don’t move in packs and given that there are so few of them, spread over such a large area, chance encounters and mating is dangerously rare.

The Sumatran rhinos aren’t the only ones in peril either, with Black and Javan rhinos also in danger of extinction. Due to many in China still believing that ground up rhino horns can cure almost anything, the danger from poaching is still very much real.

Speaking of poaching, a rhino poacher was recently killed by an elephant and then eaten by lions… which is certainly something.


Four other men were involved in the incident, which saw a startled elephant stamp on one of the members of the group during a rhino hunt.


In a statement released by the South African Police Service, they confirmed they had found his dismembered head and clothing after the man’s remains had been eaten by lions in the Crocodile Bridge section of the park.

It read:

A human skull found in the Kruger National Park (KNP) is believed to be that of a man reportedly killed by an elephant while poaching with his accomplices.


The police received information that some men had gone poaching in the KNP on 01 April 2019, when suddenly an elephant attacked and killed one of them.

Isaac Phaahla, the general manager of communications for the Kruger National Park added:

Indications found at the scene suggested that a pride of lions had devoured the remains leaving only a human skull and a pair of pants.


Images via Getty