The Sumatran rhino is now extinct in Malaysia, scientists say

Researchers say poaching and habitat loss have caused the rhino's decline

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The Sumatran rhinoceros is now extinct in the wild of Malaysia.

Apart from two females captured in 2011 and 2014 for captive breeding programs, Malaysia has not seen a Sumatran rhinoceros in the wild since 2007, Discovery News reports.

Writing in the conservation journal Oryx, researchers said poaching and habitat loss are the reasons behind the decline in the rhino’s population.

The rhinos are described by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) as the smallest of all rhinos - and it is the only Asian rhino with two horns. Their horns are believed to have medicinal values in Central Asia.

Researchers have made a number of suggestions to protect the remaining number of Sumatran rhinos, thought to number about 100 in the wild in Indonesia and nine in captivity.

“It is vital for the survival of the species that all remaining Sumatran rhinos are viewed as a metapopulation, meaning that all are managed in a single program across national and international borders in order to maximize overall birth rate. This includes the individuals currently held in captivity,” lead author Rasmus Gren Havmøller said in a statement.

Last month, it emerged there are only four northern white rhinoceros left alive in the world after the death of one of the critically endangered animals at a zoo.