Malaysia: Country’s last surviving female Sumatran rhino severely ill

The Star 18 Dec 17;

KOTA KINABALU: Iman, the country’s last surviving female Sumatran rhino, is in a life-threatening situation and veterinarians cannot do much for it at the moment.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said Iman began bleeding from a uterine leiomyoma tumour three days ago.

“Usually, this can be treated with medication and supplements,” Tuuga said yesterday.

“However, Iman is refusing to leave her mud wallow and she has hardly eaten, so the usual treatment is not possible.

Tuuga said it is possible that the ruptured tumour is causing Iman pain.

Veterinarians are finding it difficult to examine Iman at its paddock in the Wildlife Reserve in Tabin, near the east coast Lahad Datu district.

This is because the heavy rainfall in Tabin this year has turned the paddock into a quagmire.

“Both Borneo Rhino Alliance veterinarians are constantly monitoring Iman along with the keepers.

“We are hoping for the best,” Tuuga said.

Iman and another female, Puntung, as well as a male, Tam, were the last three Sumatran rhinos in the country and scientists had hoped to get them to breed to revive the species.

However, wildlife experts had to euthanise Puntung in June after its skin cancer spread, causing the animal to suffer greatly.

Hopes of starting an artificial rhino breeding programme were dashed when scientists were unable to recover any eggs from Puntung’s ovaries.


Female Sumatran rhinoceros diagnosed with tumour in uterus
OLIVIA MIWIL New Straits Times 17 Dec 17;

KOTA KINABALU: The country's last female Sumatran rhinoceros is facing a serious health problem.

Sabah Wildlife department director Augustine Tuuga said the rhino, named Iman, is having tumour in her uterus.

"Usually, this can be treated with medication and supplements.

"But Iman is refusing to leave her mud wallow and she has hardly eaten, so the usual treatment has not been possible," he said in a statement, adding that she charges at anyone who goes near.

Augustine said the bleeding from her uterus started three days ago.

"It is believed that one of the larger tumours might have ruptured and is causing pain and bleeding.

"Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA) veterinarians are constantly monitoring Iman along with the keepers. We are hoping for the best and will keep the public informed," he said.

Iman was the last wild rhino found in Malaysia. She was captured in Danum Valley and transported to Tabin Wildlife in Lahad Datu in March 2014.

Despite being diagnosed with severe fibroids in the uterus, she still produced eggs for the in-vitro fertilisation attempts.

Iman and another male rhino Kertam are kept at Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Lahad Datu under the care of BORA.

Augustine said Tabin has received nearly six meters of rainfall this year making Iman's paddock a quagmire and making things even more difficult.

The country lost another female rhino, Puntung, about six months ago.

Puntung was euthanised on June 4 after suffering three months from skin cancer.



Malaysia's last female Sumatran rhino has cancer.. and the prognosis isn't good
OLIVIA MIWIL New Straits Times 19 Dec 17;

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s last surviving female Sumatran rhinoceros, Iman, has finally emerged from her mud wallow at the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Lahad Datu, and is now receiving treatment.

Iman had been diagnosed with a tumour in her uterus last week. Since then, she had been camped out in her wallow, hampering any chances of her caregivers to extend medical aid.

Sabah Wildlife department director Augustine Tuuga believes that the wallow had served as her ‘comfort zone’ to ease the pain of her cancer.

“The wallow is apparently is her comfort zone. She charges at anyone who comes close.

"And each time she does that (charge), she would bleed profusely from her tumours,” he said in a statement.

Augustine said experts have managed to administer her with steroids on two consecutive days to reduce the inflammation.


Iman had been diagnosed with a tumour in her uterus last week. Since then, she had been camped out in her wallow, hampering any chances of her caregivers to extend medical aid. (Photos by Sabah wildlife department)
The pain has also affected Iman's appetite and hydration status.

Yesterday, Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA) veterinarians managed to coax Iman out and immediately closed off the wallow with black shade netting and sand bags.

Augustine said Iman appeared pale and dehydrated as she had not been drinking water for the past four days.

“We got her to come into her night stall and she took in a lot of water mixed with vitamins and minerals.

“But she is still refusing to eat foliage hung inside her night stall,” he said, adding that additional water, drugs and supplements are being given intravenously.

Her hard stools were also removed twice yesterday and today.

Augustine said Iman’s prognosis is not good as there is still bleeding from the uterus.

Iman's constipation is also worsening the condition when she tries to defecate or lie down.

Rectal and ultrasound tests will be carried out tomorrow.

"We are also uncertain if she has a compacted colon or caecum, in which case would add to her grave prognosis."

Iman was the last wild rhino found in Malaysia. She was captured in the Danum Valley and transported to the wildlife reserve in March 2014.

Despite being diagnosed with severe fibroids in the uterus, she still produced eggs for previous in-vitro fertilisation attempts.

The country lost another female rhino, Puntung, about six months ago.

Puntung was euthanised on June 4 after suffering from skin cancer.



Rush to save last female Sumatran rhino
The Star 20 Dec 17;

KOTA KINABALU: Veterinarians and wildlife officials are keeping their fingers crossed as they begin treatment on the severely ill Iman, Malaysia’s last female Sumatran rhino.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said ­veterinarians caring for Iman at the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Lahad Datu were finally able to get close to the animal yesterday morning.

“She finally left her mud wallow and our veterinarians immediately began treating her bleeding ­uterus,” he said.

“With the treatment, our veterinarians are hoping for the best for Iman.

Tam is one of the last surviving endangered Sumatran rhino here in Malaysia, which has been rescued and kept at BRS since 2008, to hopefully contribute to babies that can carry the species through generations to come.
Tam is looking lost at the reserve in Sabah.
Tuuga said Iman began bleeding from a uterine leiomyoma tumour three days ago and this could usually be treated with medication and supplements.

For wildlife conservationists here, Iman is their last hope of ­making sure that the unique Sumatran rhino does not die out in the country.

Iman was rescued from Sabah’s lost world – the Danum Valley – in 2014 and was later placed at Tabin for a captive breeding programme to save the species.

Iman and another female rhino, Puntung, as well as a male rhino, Tam, were the last three Sumatran rhinos in the country and scientists had hoped to get them to breed to revive the species.

However, wildlife experts had to euthanise Puntung in June after its skin cancer spread, causing the animal to suffer greatly.

Any hope of a breeding programme was further dashed when scientists were unable to recover any eggs from Puntung’s ovaries.


Nation's last female Sumatran rhino under close medical supervision
ruben sario The Star 21 Dec 17;

KOTA KINABALU: The nation's last female Sumatran rhino remains on heavy medication as her carers closely monitor for any signs of danger.

"We have given her 15 litres of fluids and supplements apart from antibiotics, painkillers, vitamin K and a gastric protectant," department director Augustine Tuuga said on Thursday (Dec 21).

He added that the amount of food and fluids consumed by Iman was being monitored, as well as how much it urinated and defecated.

"She has only consumed three stalks of leaves and only drank a little bit," said Tuuga.

Tuuga said Iman was drinking small amounts of water and refused to eat any fruits.

He said Iman's uterus was still bleeding and the animal was secreting dark, partially-clotted blood through her vagina.

"We will start a very low dose of diazepam to stimulate her appetite," he said, adding that Iman was still moving about at night.

Iman began bleeding from a uterine leiomyoma tumour in mid December.

Veterinarians initially faced difficulties in treating her as she refused to leave her mud wallow at the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Lahad Datu.

The rhino eventually left the mud wallow and Iman's carers immediately began giving her medication.

Iman is the last surviving female Sumatran rhino in the country.

It was rescued from Sabah's Danum Valley in 2014 and was later placed at Tabin for a captive breeding programme.

Iman and another female rhino, Puntung, as well as a male rhino, Tam, were the last three Sumatran rhinos in the country and scientists had hoped to breed them.

However, Puntung was euthanised in June after suffering from skin cancer.

Any hopes of a breeding programme were dashed when scientists were unable to recover any eggs from Puntung's ovaries.

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