Thursday, November 16, 2006

If Malayan tiger to survive, public must play its part

Wednesday 15 November 2006

[from the recent Tiger Conservation Workshop held in Pahang] If there is a place where the Malayan Tiger can “live long and prosper”, it has to be in our very own jungles. Despite being threatened by illegal poaching and human conflict in its natural habitat, our nation’s largest cat specie still has a stable population in the wild. This can be attributed to more than 30 years of conservation work by the Government as well as the direct involvement of non-governmental organisations like the WWF. Researcher Kae Kawanishi, who specialises in the Malayan tiger, predicts that the number of tigers in the wild will actually increase if their conservation area remains protected from human intrusion and poachers.

She added that there is an estimated 500 to 1,100 cats in the wild based on data collected by remote monitoring work carried out by organisations like WWF and the Department of Wildlife. “The highest concentration of tigers is around Perak, Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan where conservation areas like Belum-Temenggor and Taman Negara are located,” she explained. Kawanishi was speaking at the first Tiger Conservation Workshop in the Wildlife Department’s Bio-Diversity training centre in Lanchang, Pahang.

Save The Tiger Fund spokesman John Steidensticker said the tiger population in Peninsular Malaysia is remarkable despite the great pressures brought about by the destruction of its natural habitat and conflicts with humans. Commenting on the long-term action plan on the conservation of the Malayan tiger, Wildlife Department Director Rashid Shamsudin said the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (Mycat) will make the necessary recommendations to the Government. “Efforts to raise awareness among the public is ongoing and I urge people who have information about illegal poaching of tigers to get in touch with us so that immediate action can be taken,” he said.

The department’s Director of Law Enforcement Misliah Mohd Bashir said around one case of illegal harvesting of tigers and its parts is reported annually. “This is based on official statistics from enforcement activities throughout the Peninsular. The department has also carried out joint operations with the army to flush out foreign poachers. “Since 2002, we have apprehended more than 75 people, mostly foreigners, for illegal poaching. They have been charged in court under the Wildlife Protection Act and Immigration Act.” Misliah added that the street price for a tiger is estimated at RM60,000 per carcass. Its body parts and organs are harvested and sold in China where the value is based on the foreign exchange. 20061112171147/Article/index_html 11/15/691-if-the-malayan-tiger-is-to-continue-to- survive-the-public-must-play-its-part

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