KOTA KINABALU: The capture of a female rhinoceros has raised hopes for the survival of the species.
The rhinoceros was caught at a trap fixed within the 120,000ha Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Lahad Datu earlier this week.
Named Puntung, it will now be paired with male rhino Kertam or Tam, which has been kept captive also within the reserve since 2008. Their "home" will be a 20ha enclosure within the reserve.
The male Sumatran rhino, described as a national treasure, has been kept under the care of the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary programme, which involves the state Wildlife Department and non-governmental organisation, Borneo Rhino Alliance.
Experts had estimated that only 30 or so rhinos were left in the jungles of Sabah and most are not able to reproduce because of their fragmented habitats.
Since 1996, the Sumatran Rhino has been listed as critically endangered, which is one step away from extinction in the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List.