Malaysia: Zero-poaching plan in Perak to be made model for others

Nuradzimmah Daim New Straits Times 11 Jul 17;

IPOH: In an effort to achieve zero-poaching on Malayan tigers in the country by 2020, concerted efforts among various agencies are being drawn up with Belum-Temengor Forest Complex being slated to become a model for other states.

To achieve this, several suggestions were put forth in a high-level dialogue held here today, including the setting up of a secretariat to address poaching in Belum-Temengor that would see engagement with various government agencies and non-governmental organisations.

World Worldlife Fund Malaysia chief executive officer and executive director Datuk Dr Dionysius S.K. Sharma said the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, who attended the dialogue, expressed his interest in the conservation efforts to ensure the engagement with some 5,000 Orang Asli in the area.

Dionysius said the secretariat, led by the state Economic Planning Unit, would include various agencies including the Wildlife and National Parks Department and the Armed Forces, as well as environmental non-governmental organisation.

"We are looking at implementing the efforts on Belum-Temenggor forest that can be used as a model nationwide.

"It will also involve closer cooperation with neighbouring countries as smuggling of endangered species is a transboundary crime.

"In this respect, we are also looking at the tiger conservation plan that is currently being implemented by Nepal which saw success with zero poaching in 2011 and 2014," he said.

The Wildlife and National Parks Department director-general Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim said amendments to Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (Act 716) is also in the pipeline to give more bite to enforcement agencies, with maximum penalties for hunting protected wildlife under Section 68 and Section 69 would be amended from RM500,000 and five-year jail to RM1 million, and to also include whipping.

He said a survey on tiger population here, which started early this year is expected to be concluded by end of the year. It was reported that the number of Malayan tigers had dropped to between 250 and 340 from 500 in 2008.

Meanwhile, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir reiterated the state's commitment in addressing the poaching issue in Belum-Temengor which covers an area of 8,000 sqkm and is one of the largest habitat for the Malayan tiger population in the country.