Indonesia has rejected a request from Malaysia for a donation of sperm from a Sumatran rhino to help increase numbers of the rare and endangered species.

Animal experts claim Malaysia’s endangered Sumatran rhinos need help to reproduce.

Dr John Payne, the executive director of the Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA), said their team was determined to get help from Indonesia for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) programs in order to save the endangered mammal, The Star reported.

In an unfortunate turn of events, Indonesia rejected the request, claiming to have technical issues and other reasons.

Payne added that BORA had been trying to save the rhinos since the ’80s, but the plans have been constantly delayed. He said he wished the Indonesian head of biodiversity would take a different approach and help save the rhinos from extinction.

Iman and Tam – the two rhinos – are old and cannot mate. Malaysia has been trying to get sperm from Indonesian rhinos, but Indonesia has always declined, said Payne.

Sabah Wildlife Department head Augustine Tuuga said the department will cooperate with BORA to stop the rhinos from going extinct.

Payne also said the next best thing to do would be to preserve the genomes of the rhinos in the hope of making embryos in the future should technology advance to that point. Cloning, however, was frowned upon by Payne due to ethics.