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Match-making reserve for rare rhinos planned

world Updated: Jul 08, 2007 18:38 IST

Reuters
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Malaysia plans to put extremely rare Borneo rhinos together in a new wildlife park so that they can meet and mate.

"What is happening now is that many of these rhinos are isolated in different forest reserves and they hardly meet," the Star newspaper on Sunday quoted Sabah's environment minister, Masidi Manjun, as saying.

"We hope that by placing them together in a certain forest area, they will mate and multiply," he added.

Experts met in Malaysia's eastern Sabah state on Borneo island this week to discuss ways to save the rhino, which is believed to be on the verge of extinction.

Masidi said that worries about low sperm count and uterine tumors affecting rhinos might not be the real reasons for the animal's limited reproductive rates because such cases were only found in captive rhinos or those living in isolation in the wild.

Scientists have found that male rhinos suffer from low sperm count while many of their female counterparts have cysts in their reproductive organs.

The wildlife department says there are between 30 and 50 rhinos left in the dense jungles of Sabah. Scientists consider the Borneo rhino to be a subspecies of the Sumatran rhino.

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