Malaysia: After tiger killed on highway, groups seek more passages for animals to cross roads

PATRICK LEE The Star 7 Feb 16;

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s roads are not safe enough for animals to cross and more infrastructure is needed to help them do so, green groups said.

Their warnings came after a tiger was killed on a highway yesterday.

More than 100 animals were hit over the past year.

“If you have a road dissecting a (tiger’s) home range, it’s inevitable they will cross to the other side,” said Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia director Dr Melvin Gumal.

He said special passages built under or over roads would give animals a chance to cross them without being hit by traffic.

“There (passages) are not enough. Tapirs are killed, elephants knocked,” he said, adding that signs asking people to slow down were not enough.

At about midnight yesterday, a Malayan tiger was hit by a car on the East Coast Expressway Phase 2 (LPT2).

Bernama reported that environmental factors such as wild and domestic animals accounted for 113 accident cases on the LPT2 from Feb 1 to Nov last year.

The Department of Wildlife and National Parks later confirmed that the tiger was pregnant with two foetuses aged about two months.

WWF-Malaysia executive director Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said there have been passages made, though the move to build them has been “slow”.

“We’re finding more increases (of wildlife accidents) on the roads. We need to work faster,” he said.

Malaysian Nature Society president Henry Goh said the LPT2 cut through primary forests in the peninsula.

The highway has been fully operational since Jan 31, 2015.

The Star previously reported that 1,924 wild animals were killed on roads in Malaysia from June 2006 to June 2014.

Malayan tiger killed on East Coast Highway was pregnant
PATRICK LEE The Star 6 Feb 16;

PETALING JAYA: The tiger that was killed on the East Coast Expressway Phase 2 (LPT2) was pregnant, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) confirmed.

Perhilitan Terengganu director Mohd Hasdi Husin told The Star that a post-mortem performed on the tiger found two dead fetuses.

"There were two fetuses about two months old, outside the uterus, which was broken because of the accident," he said over the phone on Saturday.

"I am very, very sad. Next time, hopefully this kind of accident will not happen again," he added.

Mohd Hasdi said the tiger suffered massive internal injuries and that its liver was ruptured and its hind legs broken.

He also added that the tiger may have been 10 to 15-years-old.

The area where the tiger was tragically killed, he said was near a forest reserve.

Images on social media spread earlier Saturday supposedly showing two tiger fetuses being taken out of its body.

The tiger was hit by a car heading to Kuala Terengganu at about midnight. It died on the spot.

Uproar on internet over death of pregnant Malayan tiger
FAISAL ASYRAF New Straits Times 6 Feb 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: There was an uproar on the Internet today over the death of a tiger which was hit by an MPV while crossing the East Coast Expressway Phase 2 (LPT2).

A picture of the carcass, propped up by an unidentified man, with a highway authority worker next to him showing a thumbs up sign, earned the wrath of social media users.

Facebook user Andrew Han posted:

"Why is he showing a thumbs up? He should be sad because this animal is now almost extinct"

Many social media users called on the authorities to make proper crossings for wildlife, posting pictures of animal crossings and bridges which had been built in other countries to enable animals to cross highways safely.

"The poor tiger. Other countries can build animal bridges for wild animals to cross our highways safely. Why cant we have the same?," said Facebook user Lina Samsudin.

The tiger died on the spot in the incident which occurred at 1am. The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) reported that the tiger, which was pregnant with two foetuses died due to massive internal injuries.

Facebook user Anna Dharma posted:

"Poor thing Malaysian tigers are at the brink of extinction worst still 2 cubs . What a waste really feel sad . We need to implement some precaution so this will never happen again".

Meanwhile, the car owner whose car hit the tiger refuted claims by some netizens claiming he deliberately hit the tiger.

The driver, Syahrin Abdul Aziz took his disappointment to social media.

"How did I deliberately hit the tiger?" he questioned his accusers.

Syahrin, who is a professional photographer by trade, also said he felt sorry that the tiger was pregnant, saying "it adds up to my sadness for the poor tiger."

In another Facebook post which garnered more than 500 likes and 350 shares, Syahrin related the incident in detail.

"It was dark as I drove East-bound heading towards the Ajil exit. There were no other motorists within 500 metres of my car. At KM320 (of the highway), it was totally dark and there was still no other vehicle on the road.

"The rain was heavy and the wind was strong. I slowed down my speed to around 100 to 120 km per hour," he wrote.

Syahrin further explained that at KM321.1, he was startled by the tiger which sprinted across the road in front of his car.

However, he said he couldn't stop his car in time as the tiger was only five metres away.

"It was too close. I couldn't do anything and accidentally ran into it.

"Still in shock, I stopped my car on the right lane for a while before I decided to continue driving 100 meters from the area as I was afraid that other tigers would be nearby," he said.

Tiger death an accident, says Perhilitan
PATRICK LEE The Star 7 Feb 16;

PETALING JAYA: The driver of the car that hit a tiger on the East Coast Expressway on Saturday will not be charged for causing the death of the animal.

A Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) spokesman told The Star that it was an accident, and that the driver reported the incident immediately after it happened.

The driver admitted in a post on Facebook to hitting the tiger on the East Coast Expressway Phase 2 (LPT2) at about midnight that day.

In the post, he said he only saw the tiger when it was about five metres away from his car.

The animal died on the spot.

Perhilitan officials later performed a post-mortem on the tiger, and found that it had been pregnant with two fetuses.

It was previously reported that the highway area where the tiger died was near a forest reserve.

More measures to be taken to prevent road kill in the future: Wan Junaidi
THARANYA ARUMUGAM New Straits Times 7 Feb 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry has directed the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) and Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia to step up surveillance and preventive measures along highways and roads identified as hotspots for wildlife crossing.

Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said Perhilitan had identified 126 hotspots nationwide, based on the number of road kills.

“The number of animals being killed on the road has been on the rise over the years, where 453 cases were recorded last year from 136 cases in 2007.

“This calls for immediate action. Hence, I have instructed Perhilitan and the Forestry Department to put up proper signs with clear visibility to notify motorists to be more vigilant and to drive carefully at these areas.

“The authorities have also been tasked to mend damaged fences between the highway and the jungle to prevent animals from entering highways and roads,” he told the New Straits Times.

Wan Junaidi said the problem arises when irresponsible parties or local farmers destroy the fences to transport their livestock or to access their farms.

“At times, the fences were damaged by fallen trees,” he said, adding that the ministry and agencies would cooperate with the local authorities to create awareness on wildlife in the area.

Wildlife road kills came to light when a Malayan tiger, a critically endangered animal (with only about 250 to 340 left in the wild) was killed crossing the East Coast Expressway Phase 2 (LPT2) on Saturday.

NST yesterday reported that the ministry has plans to build 37 viaducts at 37 hotspots to facilitate the movement of animals.

Wan Junaidi said he had notified Perhilitan director-general Datuk Abd Rashid Samsudin to study the cost of building wildlife sky bridge such as the one in Singapore to viaducts.

“Of course, we have to study other factors too, for example, the visibility (of animals) taking into account the Malaysian propensity to shoot and kill animals,” he added.

EcoKnights president Yasmin Rasyid said if viaducts were built at areas earmarked for wildlife crossing, it would certainly be useful in reducing the rate of accidents.

However, she noted that the authorities should review a particular area before any development activities to ensure it does not disrupt animal crossing.

“Proper studies need to be done for all future road developments to ensure that we are not fragmenting habitats of wildlife species. If it is going to fragment forest then the highways or roads should be redirected.

“Besides, motorists should be more careful and drive responsibly to avoid accidents.”
Meanwhile, Terengganu Wildlife Department had confirmed that the tiger which was hit by a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) at KM321.2 of the LPT 2 in Kemaman yesterday was from the wild, and did not escape from a zoo nearby.

Its director Mohd Hasdi Husin told Bernama that based on an autopsy, the tiger which was pregnant died from severe head injuries after being hit by the MPV.

He said another autopsy would be carried out by the veterinary department soon to determine the background and the original habitat of the tiger which weighed about 100 kilogrammes.

SPCA wants safer highway crossing points for animals
TASHNY SUKUMARAN The Star 10 Feb 16;

PETALING JAYA: The relevant authorities must work together to prevent road accidents like the recent one which killed an endangered Malayan tiger that was pregnant with two foetuses.

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Selangor patron Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said he was saddened by the incident.

“There have been about 10 cases of big animals killed after being hit by vehicles while crossing the East Coast Highway 2.”

He said the safety of road-users was also a cause for concern in such cases.

Lee called on the highway authorities and operators, Works Ministry and Natural Resource and Environ­ment Ministry to get together and address this matter with the help of the Wildlife Department.

“They have to discuss the issue in greater depth.

“It should also be raised in Cabinet due to the increasing number of accidents that have happened.”

Lee touched on the matter of animal tunnels, which many animal rights activists have also petitioned for in the past.

“Animals won’t necessarily use these tunnels, especially at night. There has to be alternative crossings provided for them.

“The relevant authorities can perhaps identify crossing points and provide special routes there.”

The death of the tiger caused a stir, especially when an autopsy revealed that she was pregnant with two cubs.

According to reports, Terengganu public order and traffic chief Supt Kamaluddin Mohamad said that wild animals frequently wandered onto the roads near a forest reserve.

Tapir, deer, wild boar, goats, cows and buffaloes have all been seen in the area.

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