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Reconsider purchasing habits, animal welfare group urges public following death of last known male Sumatran rhino

A Catholic animal welfare group has urged the public to reconsider their purchasing habits in order to address the growing levels of species becoming extinct.

Catholic Concern for Animals’ (CCA) call comes following news that the last known male Sumatran rhinoceros in Malaysia has died, bringing the probability of the extinction of the species ever closer.

The rhino, named Tam, was about 30 years old and lived at a wildlife reserve in Sabah state on Borneo island since his capture in 2008, Christina Liew, state minister for tourism, culture and environment, said in a statement.

The Sumatran rhino, the smallest species of rhinoceros, was declared extinct in the wild in Malaysia in 2015.

Only one female Sumatran rhino, named Iman, remains in the country.

“This is awful news and yet another iconic species is on the verge of extinction and frankly this is specifically attributable to the actions of humans in pursuit of not only greed by poachers but also due to natural habitat loss due to deforestation and logging and including the palm oil trade and the production of palm oil,” Chris Fegan, CCA chief executive, told The Catholic Universe.

“This sort of disaster is happening all over the world to species on an almost daily basis and we are in the age of the ‘sixth extinction’ which is human caused and we all must look at our purchasing habits to see what we can do to try and help avoid this escalating situation and what we can do without, this is a message His Holiness, Pope Francis has given us in his encyclical Laudato Si’.

“The big animals such as the Sumatran Rhino rightly get the media’s attention when things like this occur but many more and similar tragic situations are being unreported,” Mr Fegan added.

Picture: A 29th October 2013 archive picture of a Sumatran rhinoceros standing in the rhinocerous protection station Tabin in the jungle of Borneo near Lahad Datu, Malaysia. (John Grafilo/DPA/PA).