Malaysia: Male tapir killed after being hit by vehicle

T N ALAGESH New Straits Times 1 Feb 18;

RAUB: A male tapir was killed after being hit by a vehicle along Jalan Budu-Dong near Kampung Tualang Padang here yesterday.

The endangered Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus) was believed to be attempting to cross the single-stretch when a vehicle crashed into the animal.

Passing motorist who spotted the carcass on the road shoulder about 1.50pm informed the State Wildlife and National Parks department (Perhilitan).

Seven Perhilitan staff attached to the Raub and Lipis office were deployed to the scene which was located far from human settlements as the road was in a rural area.

State Perhilitan director Ahmad Azhar Mohammed said the tapir weighing about 250kg could have been hit late on Tuesday night or in the early hours of Wednesday.

He said the animal had injuries on the snout, head and body and might have been attempting to cross the road to look for food when the incident occurred.

"Checks revealed the animal was a fully grown adult between 15 and 18 years old. All the body parts were still intact.

"Since not many vehicles use the stretch, villagers only spotted the carcass some time after the incident. The carcass was buried by Perhilitan officers after investigations was completed," he said when contacted today.

Meanwhile, a Perhilitan staff said the animal might have been occupying the forest nearby and could have crossed the road to get to the other side.

"Checks revealed there are no areas in the vicinity cleared for development. Sadly, the motorist who crashed into the animal did not make any attempt to inform the authorities but instead drove away.

"Previously, there have been cases when certain body parts including the tail, ears and tongue of the tapir being removed by irresponsible individuals when the animal is killed in an accident. In this case, the road was quite remote and not many vehicles pass the stretch except for the villagers," he said.

It is estimated that only between 1,100 and 1,500 tapirs remain in the wild in Peninsular Malaysia, and concentrated in protected areas, such as Taman Negara and wildlife reserves.

They are classified as a totally protected species under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.

Last year, a pair of tapir - a male and a female aged between eight and 10 years old - were killed after a car hit them while crossing the Gebeng bypass dual-carriageway about 10pm.

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