Malaysia: Tapir deaths on roads continue to rise

FERNANDO FONG New Straits Times 19 Apr 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: Malayan Tapirs (tapirus indicus) are literally being driven to their graves as the number of tapirs killed by vehicles continue to soar on Malaysian roads.

Tragic road deaths have become more frequent as more tapirs are wandering onto roads and highways due to increased habitat loss brought about by human activities including deforestation and illegal trade.

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE), Datuk Hamim Samuri said a total of 35 deaths caused by collision with vehicles were recorded between 2010 and 2015.

The Wildlife and Natural Parks Department (Perhilitan) also received 68 tapir-related complaints during the period.

It is estimated that only 1,100 - 1,500 tapirs remain in the wild in Peninsular Malaysia.

Hamim said the ministry is aware of the development and have come up with solutions by implementing the Safe Tapir Crossing (STC), an initiative by Perhilitan to reduce road-kills.

By putting up road signs, tranvers bars (animal crossing guard) and amber lights at identified crossing spots, it will help provide a safe way for tapirs to get from one side to the other.

“There are also special programmes to relocate tapirs to safe forest havens, to carry out research and conservation programmes and a special plan called The Malayan Tapir Conservation Action Plan (MaTCAP) which lays out the strategy for more efficent conservation in the next 10 years.

“The government had also allocated RM1.18 million in the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020) for the purpose of tapir conservation,” he said.

Samuri, who is also Ledang MP, was speaking during the launch of the Malayan Tapir Awareness Campaign which started today at Publika shopping mall in Sri Hartamas.

The exhibition is being held until May 8, featuring an exhibition of 3,000 miniature clay tapirs made by school children across the country.

35 Tapirs Die In Accidents From 2010-2015
Bernama 19 Apr 16;

KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 (Bernama) -- As many as 35 tapirs were recorded to have died in road accidents between 2010 and 2015, according to Deputy Human Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Hamim Samuri.

He said the threats to the animal's natural habitat such as land-clearing, farming and new settlements projects were the factors causing the tapirs to move into areas close to human dwellings.

"As such, the ministry has undertaken various efforts to protect, conserve and ensure sustainability of the wildlife, including implementing the 'Safe Tapir Crossing' programme by putting up signboards of tapir crossings at locations which are often used by the wildlife.

"A total of 24 signboards for tapir crossings, 37 transverse bar sets, and 24 amber light units have been put up in four locations in Johor last year at a cost of RM180,000 under the Central Forest Spine (CFS) project," he said in his speech at the launch of tapir awareness campaign at the Publika shopping centre here today.

He added that 260 animal crossing signboards had been put up throughout Peninsular Malaysia so far.