Malaysia: Govt mulls amending Wildlife Conservation Act 2010

Bernama New Straits Times 29 Jul 18;

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is studying to amend the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 by introducing mandatory jail sentences against individuals caught hunting wildlife illegally.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar said his ministry would work with the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) to improve the Act to prosecute illegal hunters accordingly.

"By strengthening the act, enforcement could be boosted, we will make the amendments because it is understood that the existing act does not facilitate the enforcement process.

"This amendment may involve the addition of penalties to doubled from the previous, but what I see is that there are those who can pay so we must also include a prison sentence which is seen to be more effective in dealing with this issue," he said.

He said this at a media conference in conjunction with the Global Tiger Day Celebration organised by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Malaysia at the Tuanku Bainun Children's Creative Centre here today.

The Global Tiger Day is celebrated on July 29 each year to foster awareness of the importance of tiger conservation to the world community.

According to Xavier, the ministry would also step up cooperation with authorities such as the police and military to jointly assist non-governmental organisations (NGO) such as WWF in combating illegal wildlife hunting syndicates throughout the country.

He said through operations conducted by Perhilitan had found various species of animals which were injured including tigers, tapirs and elephants due to the wire snares installed by illegal hunters.

From 2014 to June, Perhilitan had destroyed over 2,890 wire snares in 479 operations conducted.

Hence, he hoped that corporate companies would be able to help NGOs finance the projects to destroy the snares in the quest to save wildlife from extinction.

"I understand that WWF in collaboration with Perhilitan have carried out Project Stampede which consists of only 15 people to identify and destroy the trap areas.

"They need 50 more individuals to help them continue this project more widely and I encourage the corporate sector to assist them in successfully implementing this project and to go all out to eradicate illegal poaching," he said. — BERNAMA

Minister: Move to stop poachers and save tigers drastic but needed
vincent tan The Star 30 Jul 18;

KUALA LUMPUR: A shoot-on-sight policy against wildlife poachers is being mulled in a move to protect Malayan tigers.

Water, Land and Natural Re­­sources Minister Dr Xavier Jaya­kumar said he was considering bringing such a policy for Cabinet review.

“It might sound a bit drastic but if you want to save Malayan tigers, we have to take drastic action as well.

“Such a policy, instituted in Ne­­pal and Bhutan, has seen the number of tigers rising,” he said after attending the Global Tiger Day 2018 celebrations organised by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Malaysia yesterday.

Perhilitan director-general Da­­tuk Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim said a large part of the threat to tigers and Malaysian wildlife came from poaching snares.

“Today, we can remove one but one month later, these snares are back at the same place.

“They don’t discriminate and will catch anything, not just tigers,” Abdul Kadir said.

According to its statistics, more than 2,890 snares were destroyed in 479 operations conducted from 2014 up to this year.

During the event, WWF Malaysia also officially announced Project Stampede, a joint effort involving orang asli communities to patrol the Belum-Temenggor Forest Com­plex in Perak to remove poa­cher snares, as well as collect data.

There was also a screening of On the Brink of Extinction, a documentary narrated by six individuals working with WWF Malaysia on tiger conservation.

Dr Mark Rayan Darmaraj, WWF Malaysia’s tiger lead researcher and one of the film’s narrators, said the patrols would serve as “eyes and ears” for enforcement authorities and help to put a stop to poaching.

Currently, he said, the project had a few patrol teams, with an aim to roll out 10 teams by the end of the year.

“The Belum-Temenggor forest, which includes the Royal Belum state park, is one of three tiger priority sites in Peninsular Malaysia but it had seen a 50% drop in tigers’ population there.

“At most, we are buying time, as without specialised and armed tactical teams with enforcement po­­wers to respond and quickly track down these poachers, we will lose the fight,” he said.

Currently, Malaysia is conducting its first-ever National Tiger Survey, expected to be completed by 2020.

Separately, Lasah, a 37-year-old male Asian elephant, has been relocated to the Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Centre.

Together with him, a Malayan tiger named Zanah, was also moved to the National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Sungkai.

Both animals were handed to Perhilitan to be transferred out because the company – Langkawi Elephant Adventures – was unable to carry on its operations at its premises.