Malaysia 'losing battle' to save tigers
(AFP) – July 15, 2009
KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) — Malaysia is losing its battle to save its dwindling population of wild tigers, a conservation coalition warned Wednesday after a series of raids that netted tiger carcasses and bones.
"It is clearly time to admit that we are fast losing the battle to save our tigers to an army of smugglers and poachers intent on killing every last one," said the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MyCat).
"They enter our protected areas with ease, and illegally trap, kill and export our wildlife with little fear," said the alliance which includes WWF Malaysia and watchdog Traffic Southeast Asia.
MyCat demanded that Malaysian authorities take action to stop the illegal trade in tiger parts.
It listed a series of seizures of dismembered tigers in recent months, from the Thai-Laos border right down to Malaysia itself, including three kilograms (six-and-a-half pounds) of tiger bones found in northeastern Kelantan state last month.
The coalition said that investigations into the seized tiger parts found that some were from sub-species not found in the wild in Asia, including the Siberian tiger.
It said the findings suggested that captive tigers, such as those found in zoos and theme parks, were finding their way into the illegal wildlife trade where they are butchered for traditional medicine.
"Swift and severe action must follow," MyCat said.
"If we cannot stop captive tigers from government-supervised institutions from being illegally traded, there is little hope of protecting wild tigers," it said.
Malaysia is estimated to have just 500 tigers still living in the wild.