Malaysia: Ban on deer hunting to save Malayan tiger

PATRICK LEE The Star 9 Mar 16;

PETALING JAYA: A six-year hunting moratorium on sambar deer is expected to start from November in a move to help save the Malayan tiger, the Government revealed.

Natural Resources and Environ­ment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said wildlife officials had asked to renew the ban, which ended in November last year.

“I am going to extend the moratorium for another six years beginning November this year.

“The sambar deer is the main prey for the tiger. They prefer it to any other animal,” he told The Star.

He said there were only 700 to 1,000 sambar deer left in the peninsula and that if these were to die, the tiger would be forced to hunt other prey.

This, Dr Wan Junaidi said, included going after other animals or even human beings.

There may only be 250 to 340 Malayan tigers – which is also critically endangered – left in the peninsula today.

Dr Wan Junaidi spoke to The Star after three men were caught in Perak earlier this month loading parts of a sambar deer into their car.

Two others, including one carrying a gun, escaped.

A Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) official had said then that deer meat could cost between RM40 and RM60 a kg.

Environmentalists have said before that there was a direct link between sambar deer and tigers in Malaysia.

“Where there are more sambar deer, there are more tigers,” said WWF-Malaysia tiger biologist Dr Mark Rayan Darmaraj in 2013.

Dr Wan Junaidi said that even if there was no moratorium – the original ban started in 2009 – sambar deer hunting was only allowed during the month of November each year.

“Even during the season, a hunter needs a permit to hunt,” he said, adding that an investigation was underway to find out who the other two men were.

No sambar deer was legally hunted in the peninsula last year, he said.

He added that he would also get a ministry official to write to the Inspector-General of Police to get the gun owner’s licence revoked.

As a follow-up, the minister warned that he would not hesitate to get gun licences withdrawn if these were found to be used for hunting wild animals.

Malaysia seeking Indian expertise in tiger conservation
JOSEPH KAOS JR The Star 8 Mar 16;

DENGKIL: Malaysia will seek India's expertise in tiger conservation as it looks to increase the population of the endangered animal in this country, says Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

The Natural Resources and Environment Minister said he will be in India next month and will discuss with his counterparts there on how both countries can help each other in tiger conservation.

"Perhilitan (the Wildlife and National Parks Department) is working with their counterparts in India in tiger conservation, expertise and forensics, as they are more advanced in us in these aspects.

"I have been invited to a convention in April where we will discuss tiger conservation and hopefully they can send us some experts to help us. In exchange, perhaps, we can teach them about tapir conservation.

"Through the exchange of knowledge, we can improve our conservation of wildlife, especially the endangered animals," said Dr Wan Junaidi after chairing his ministry's monthly assembly held at the Paya Indah Wetlands Tuesday.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the population of wild tigers in India has increased to 2,226 in 2014 from 1,706 in 2010 and 1,411 in 2006 – thanks to its national tiger conservation efforts.

The minister said surveys showed there are roughly 300 tigers living in the wild in Malaysia.

"We must make it a national duty to protect this animal. The tiger is very iconic in Malaysia, and you can tell as it is used in the Malaysian crest. It is a big responsibility for the ministry to carry," he said.

Dr Wan Junaidi also said a survey was conducted in the peninsula to find tigers that were unaccounted for.

"We know now there are about 300 wild tigers, but this is based on an existing survey. There are still areas that have not been surveyed and hopefully once that is complete in about three years time, we will find out that there are actually more tigers in the country," he said.

Dr Wan Junaidi said besides poaching and illegal wildlife trading, the use of animal snares by the indigenous Orang Asli was a factor in the dwindling population of tigers here.

"We need the Orang Asli Department's help to educate them against using animal snares," he said.

At the assembly, Dr Wan Junaidi launched a coffee table book called 'Malayan Tiger: An Iconic National Treasure' which contains visuals of tigers in the wild caught by wildlife trail cameras.

Tiger conservation efforts to get tech boost
FAZLEENA AZIZ New Straits Times 8 Mar 16;

SEPANG: The Peninsula Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) is adopting better technological and scientific approaches in its animal conservation efforts particularly in protecting the Malayan Tiger.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said among initiatives being put in place included improving connectivity of camera visuals to the mobile phones of its officers and roping in animal forensic experts in handling criminal cases.

The department is also in the midst of carrying out a survey on the tigers, to establish its exact number in the country.

This effort is expected to be completed in three years.

Statistics put the number at 300 (in the Peninsula) but the ministry is confident there could be more in unexplored areas.

"At the moment there are more than 200 cameras in the national parks and forest reserve, but sometimes when the cameras capture images of the animals, we have trouble obtaining the footage, so we need to have a strategic connection.

"In terms of forensic experts, we need to establish and collect more DNA samples for advance criminal investigations," he said after the ministry's monthly gathering at Paya Indah Wetlands, here, today.

He also said the ministry would be extending the hunting season moratorium on deers for the next six years following the expiry period, which ended in Nov last year.

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