Mycat hails ban on hunting of tiger prey
The Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (Mycat) – comprising the Malaysian Nature Society, Traffic South-East Asia, Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia Programme and WWF-Malaysia – congratulates the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia on instituting a nationwide ban on hunting of sambar and barking deer (The Star, July 22).
The two-year moratorium on hunting that will begin this November – the annual month-long hunting season for these species – is welcome news indeed. Both are vital tiger prey species, and an insufficient prey base is one of the threats to the tiger’s survival.
The sambar deer particularly is in a precarious situation. Previously categorised as least concern on the IUCN Red List, it has recently been upgraded to the vulnerable category, due its decline in recent years.
It faces a real threat of local extinction. Sambar deer are difficult to find outside of protected areas and rare even within.
We are pleased that the Department of Wildlife has realised that when populations are in decline, they cannot be sustainably harvested.
The department’s proactive action will hopefully be a step towards allowing wild populations to recover, and take us closer to our target of having 1,000 wild tigers by the year 2020, as set out by the National Tiger Action Plan for Malaysia.
At the end of two years, there should be a multi-site scientific assessment with various stakeholders of both the sambar and barking deer populations to indicate the future sustainability.
LORETTA ANN SHEPHERD,