Malaysia: Save the Malayan Tiger trust fund gets MYCAT financial boost

New Straits Times 28 Jul 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT) has presented a cash donation of RM46,800 to the Save the Malayan Tiger trust fund.

Its general manager Dr Kae Kawanishi said the donation, collected over the years from anonymous donors and volunteers, would be used for better protection of tigers in Taman Negara.

“I am from Japan, and we have this proverb, ‘Even dust can accumulate to be a mountain’.

“To some, RM46,800 is not a lot of money, but for us it exemplifies a proud example made by numerous individuals over the years,” she said in a statement in conjunction with Global Tiger Day, today.

Kawanishi also called upon the public to participate in tiger conservation efforts, adding that no one should be a bystander in the imminent extinction of the Malayan Tiger.

“In the nine years since the inception of the Citizen Action for Tigers (CAT) Walk, 1,920 people from 36 countries have joined, patrolling 4,300km of forests, and disarming 168 snares.

“These valiant volunteers paid heed to the call for action and did what was needed to help protect endangered wildlife.

“I strongly believe that our Tigers require the concrete support of Malaysians everywhere to pick up the fight and walk the walk.”

Kawanishi, who is also a tiger biologist, said CAT was the only program of its kind in the world that facilitates concerned members of the public to directly safeguard tigers against poaching.

She said the need for such an inclusive initiative was born out of pure necessity, as the long wait for government intervention and allocation of resources had to be factored into the very survival of Malaysia’s most iconic species.

Kawanishi said the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) had initiated an operation and mobilised 200 wildlife rangers without any special allocation.

She added that while the government was taking the necessary steps, Perhilitan’s 200 rangers needed public support urgently.

She urged the public to donate to the trust fund, to support tiger conservation efforts.

“Military protection may not come in time to save our Tigers.

“Please make your contribution to the trust fund today ( Without action, nothing will change.”

Tables turned on poachers
The Star 29 Jul 19;

PUTRAJAYA: Two battalions of the police general operations force (GOF) have been directed to assist the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) in tackling poachers, especially those hunting the endangered Malayan tigers, says Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador.

The Inspector-General of Police said one of the battalions, comprising 500 members, would be deployed together with Perhilitan personnel to patrol the forest.

Another battalion, he added, would be put on standby.

Both battalions are from Perak Senoi Praaq, the police unit made up mostly of Orang Asli.

“I am assigning the task to the Senoi Praaq battalions because of their tracking skills and their familiarity with the forest surroundings,” he added.

He said the police, apart from drawing up a standard operating procedure in facing threats from poachers, would train Perhilitan personnel in the use of firearms.

This collaboration followed talks held recently to form a joint action force comprising the police and the Perhilitan to curb poaching and the sale of protected wildlife.

Meanwhile, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali named three tiger cubs born at Zoo Negara in conjunction with the celebration at the zoo.

The Prime Minister’s wife, who is also the patron of Save Our Malayan Tiger Campaign, named the two male cubs Wira and Hebat, and the female cub Melur.

Also present at the ceremony were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as well as Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar.

Dr Siti Hasmah said she had wanted to hug the cubs, which were born at the zoo on May 1.

“But when I went to Zoo Negara last week, the cubs were three months old and had already grown to a height of three feet. I could not hug them, instead they started roaring when they saw me,” she said in her speech.

Dr Siti Hasmah also shared her closest encounter with the big cat.

“I had always wanted to face a tiger. The closest I did was at the Lost World of Tambun where I managed to get the feel of a young tiger licking my palm when I fed it a slice of chicken.

“It was such a thrill. I could feel the tongue,” she added.

Dr Siti Hasmah also called for the people to work together to protect the Malayan tiger to ensure its population, which now stands at 200, would increase to 500 in future.

According to official data, there were more than 3,000 Malayan tigers in the country in the 1950s.

Dr Siti Hasmah said the Malayan tigers needed to be protected from extinction as the animal was featured in the nation’s coat of arms to symbolise strength.

During the ceremony, she also received contributions amounting to RM1.33mil from private companies, NGOs, universities and schools including the Al-Bukhary Foundation and staff of ministries towards the Malayan tiger conservation efforts.

World Tiger Day is celebrated every July 29 to inculcate public awareness of the importance of protecting, preserving and conserving this endangered species.

At the event, the guests were also treated to a video of two groups of Malayan tigers – a pair of mother and cub as well as a female tiger with her three cubs – roaming in their natural habitat, which was believed to be a national park in Peninsular Malaysia.

The exact location of the national park had to be kept secret to protect the animals from poachers. — Bernama

Hope for endangered big cat
Teh Athira Yusof New Straits Times 29 Jul 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: The critically endangered Malayan tiger population in Malaysia is slowly expanding, with an additional three cubs born in the wild earlier this year.

Footage of the cubs and their mother was captured by the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) in Taman Negara in April during its first National Tiger Survey programme.

The birth of the three cubs is a welcome surprise amid reports that the global Malayan tiger population is declining, bringing the known population of tiger cubs in the country to six. The three other cubs were born in captivity in Zoo Negara on May 1.

Perhilitan said the video footage showed that the mother, aged between 8 and 10 years, was pregnant back in January.

The cubs were clearly seen in the video footage, courtesy of the department’s wildlife tracking cameras.

“There are four tigers in the video, including a female tiger (mother) and three cubs. They are from the same family.

“The cubs are around 4 to 5 months old. It is estimated that they were born in February.

“The tigress and her cubs are healthy.

“Data gathered indicates active breeding populations in several protected habitats.

“The discovery of the tigress and her cubs represents Malaysia’s hope to save Malayan tigers.”

The Malayan tiger subspecies, or scientifically known as Panthera tigris jacksoni, was established in 2004; its name originated from renowned tiger conservationist Peter Jackson. The tigers are found only in Malaysia and in the southern tip of Thailand.

The “Save Our Malayan Tiger” campaign was launched in March by the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry to assist in tiger conservation efforts, especially through enforcement.

Op Belang was introduced to closely monitor tiger habitats to prevent illegal activities, such as encroachment, poaching and wildlife trade, especially those involving the Malayan tiger.