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Our Rhinos: Their Stories

Tam and his “rescue”

In 2007, Tam was photographed in the wild, and in 2008, he walked into an oil palm plantation after sustaining an injury from a snare. Since then, he refused to return to the forest and has been living at the  BRS under the care of Sabah Wildlife Department and BORA.

He is named Kertam, after Sungai Kertam, which is the area where he was found.

In BRS, Tam is very affectionate with his caretakers, and his favourite food is banana. Every morning, he is let out of his paddock into the forest enclosure, where  he  roams around and is his natural self. In the late afternoon, he returns to his pen, demands a shower and is fed by his caregiver.

The only time he did not return to his pen was when Puntung arrived after being rescued from the Tabin Wildlife Reserve. Tam, sensing the presence of another rhino, refused to return to his pen for 2 nights – an act of tantrum to show his annoyance with Puntung.

The Hope called Puntung

Puntung, a young adult female rhino has been identified as a potential mate for Tam since 2010, and efforts were made since then to rescue her into the BRS.

She was living a solitary life in the  wild  in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, but monitoring since 2007 had shown that no other rhino entered her range In addition, she had no hooves on her front left foot and therefore left a distinct and unique footprint. She was given the nickname “Puntung”, which meant “stump” in the Malay language.

In December 2011, just before Christmas, Puntung entered the trap. This “Christmas miracle” was given food, water and care in the temporary paddock built for her near the site where she was rescued.

Examination of her foot revealed that the terminal bones of the leg were missing, a sure sign that the foot had been ripped off by a snare trap when she was an infant. Miraculously, she survived.

Puntung was airlifted into Tabin as soon as the clouds lifted on Christmas day, and was moved into her new home next to Tam.

The story of Gelogob

Gelogob is a female rhino caught in Sabah in 1994 and then was the only Sumatran rhino held in captivity in Malaysia and Borneo.

Since her capture, Gelogob has been staying at various wildlife parks (Sepilok, Lok Kawi Wildlife Park and now at theTabin Wildlife Reserve).  Due to her old age (70 years old in human years!) and the fact that rhinos are generally sensitive to sunlight, Gelogob has turned blind  She is the only survivor amongst the rhinos caught during her time.

At BRS, efforts were made to see if she was able to produce eggs butafter multiple treatments, it was concluded that Gelogob was  just too old to breed.

Gelogob spends most of  her days in  her pen at the Rhino Quarantine Facility at the  BRS, and wallows in her favourite mud patch just behind her pen. She relies heavily on vocal instructions from her caregivers to move around and loves having visitors.

We hope for Gelogob to play a bigger role in educating the public and raise the awareness on rhinos  – she could just be the first ambassador of the BRS.

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