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Saving the Sumatran rhinoceros

31 May 2013

The Sumatran Rhinoceros is on the brink of extinction.  Dr Benoît Goossens, member of the Organisms and Environment division, Cardiff school of Biosciences, and Director of Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC), is the lead author of a paper in the journal Oryx which discusses the best course of action to aid the survival of this species. 

The study was performed collaboratively by members of DGFC, the Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA), the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD), the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, and the Universiti Malaysia Sabah, and argues that the currently distinct populations of Sumatran Rhinoceros in Borneo and Sumatra should be considered as "a single conservation unit".

Dr Goossens explains the necessity of a cohesive approach for the conservation of the Sumatran rhino; "For a species such as the Sumatran rhinoceros, where time is of the essence in preventing extinction, we must ask to what extent should genetic and geographical distances be taken into account in deciding the most urgently needed conservation interventions. We propose that the populations of Sumatra and Borneo be considered as a single management unit. Genetic differences are minimal and we strongly believe that the observed differences do not justify keeping the Sumatran and Bornean populations as separate management units."

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