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SOS Rhino : In the News : End of Johor rhinos? No sign of animal in national park

End of Johor rhinos? No sign of animal in national park

  Sim Bak Heng
New Straits Times

Where have the Sumatran rhinoceros in Johor gone? The five animals recorded in the Endau-Rompin National Park 10 years ago are believed to have become victims of poachers.

Malaysia Nature Society Johor chapter adviser Vincent Chow said the large number of pit traps found at the western side of the park suggested this possibility. He said the absence of wet wallows and droppings was proof that the Sumatran rhinoceros had become extinct in the State. " Although the law says that the rhinoceros is a protected species, there is nothing left for us to protect these days. It is really sad that we have reached this pathetic state," he said. The animal is a favourite with poachers as each one is worth about RM100,000, mostly for its so-called aphrodisiac value.

A United Nations Development Programme/Global Environment Facility study in the late 1990s was abandoned after some time because they were unable to detect the animals. According to traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, the horns are either peeled to make drinks or ground into capsules. They are also traditionally used to cool "heaty" bodies. On the possibility of the animals moving to neighbouring States, Chow said the chances were low as the rhinoceros seldom moved out of its territory in its lifetime. Under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, the penalty for shooting, killing and possession of any protected animal or its body parts is a maximum RM15,000 fine or five yearsf imprisonment, or both.

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