Friday, May 16, 2008

The education way to tiger protection

The education way to tiger protection

By : Sharifah Mahsinah Abdullah

TUMPAT: There are fewer than 500 Malayan tigers left in the jungles of the peninsula. And the biggest threat of extinction comes from man.

The number of tigers are dwindling as habitats are lost to human development and poachers hunt for trophies, exotic dishes and traditional medicine.

More than 100 people living in the border areas were briefed on these and other facts during two seminars organised by the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (Mycat) and the Wildlife Department.

The seminars, attended mostly by Thai nationals, were held in a local temple at Kampung Kuala Jambu on Thursday night, followed by Kampung Mentua yesterday.

During the 90-minute programme, facilitator Rosli Hamat showed slides of protected animals and led a discussion on poaching, smuggling and other wildlife crimes.

Mycat co-ordinator Loretta Ann Soosayraj said Kelantan was the second state to organise the programme since it was introduced.

The first was in Johor last year.

The rural outreach programme is aimed at creating awareness on the effects of poaching and smuggling protected animals.

It is also designed to encourage people to report to the authorities if protected animals are being hunted in their area.

"We chose Kampung Kuala Jambu and Kampung Mentua as they are located near the border.

"The authorities have discovered that animals are being smuggled into Thailand through Kelantan, before being shipped to China," she said after the programme at Kampung Kuala Jambu.

Soosayraj also said the response to the Tiger SMS Hotline launched last December was overwhelming.

The 24-hour hotline number is 019-3564194.

Kampung Kuala Jambu village headman Eh Sin Eh Sik said the programme taught the villagers which animals to hunt.

"It's an important issue. Some of us are confused about whether or not it is legal to hunt certain animals.

"We don't know which ones are protected and which are not."

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