Sabah Deputy Chief Minister cum Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew said that Tam succumbed to multiple organs failure but the exact cause of death would be known after the autopsy.
“Our hearts are filled with sadness as we mourn not only the loss of wildlife, but the loss of a species,” WWF wrote.
“With Tam gone, we now only have Iman left, our last female rhino.
“If we are not careful, the Sumatran rhino will not be the only species that will go extinct under our watch. Let the loss of Tam be the wake-up call. Our wildlife needs protection.”
Tam was one of two remaining Sumatran rhinos in Malaysia that was kept in captivity si Sabah with the hopes of breeding but have so far proved unsuccessful.
The surviving female, Iman, suffers from a ruptured tumour in her uterus and cannot produce fertile eggs.