Virtual bid to save Malayan tigers

Tunku Ali Redhauddin says the Malayan tiger population is teetering at a critical point with less than 200 animals.

A nationwide Score For Tigers challenge has kicked off with a virtual launch in conjunction with Global Tiger Day.

Organised by WWF-Malaysia in partnership with Maybank, the month-long challenge underscores the urgency to address the declining number of Malayan tigers in the wild.

Score for Tigers, a social media challenge that uses the TikTok platform, invites participants to symbolically play in defence for the Malayan tiger by attempting as many football juggles as possible.

The results will be shared on its social media platforms.

The top 11 submissions with the most “likes” will win the official Score For Tigers jersey.

WWF-Malaysia chairman Tunku Ali Redhauddin ibni Tuanku Muhriz said wild tigers today were only found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia and Thailand.

“The ones in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam are already extinct.

Zamzamzairani says conservation of the Malayan tiger is central to the bank’s biodiversity key focus area.Zamzamzairani says conservation of the Malayan tiger is central to the bank’s biodiversity key focus area.

“We are fortunate to be one of the few countries that is still home to such magnificent beasts, but we are in danger of losing them,” he said at the virtual launch.

He added that the Malayan tiger population was teetering at a critical point with less than 200 animals and faced an ever-present threat of poaching, deforestation and habitat loss.

“To counter this, with the support of donors and partners, WWF-Malaysia has undertaken intensive patrolling in the Belum-Temenggor Forest Complex in Perak, with more than 70 Orang Asli members of the anti-poaching team regularly patrolling the deep forest.

“Through these efforts, the outcome is a massive 99% decrease in poachers’ snare levels, compared to 2017,” Tunku Ali highlighted.

The conservation of this species was not a mission to be taken on only by a few, he stressed, it was a responsibility that fell upon all of us.

“If every Malaysian makes this their duty, it is possible to reverse the decline and turn the tide of extinction.

“I am especially delighted that Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) — our very own Harimau Malaya — is supporting this year’s Global Tiger Day Score for Tigers campaign.

“Working with WWF and Maybank, which have been an invaluable partner in our tiger conservation journey since 2016, we are off to an exciting start,” he noted.

Local artistes and personalities participating in support of this challenge include Asyraf Nasir, Armani Kowachee, Theeban G, Rod Monteiro, Calista Leah Liew, Jeremy Teo, Syiera Eyya and Christine Das.

The virtual launch also featured a Score For Tigers anthem performed by popular Malaysian rapper Bunga and singer Kucaimars.

National football team Harimau Malaya is also lending its support to the challenge.

FAM general secretary Stuart Ramalingam said Harimau Malaya squad and FAM were honoured to support the campaign.

“As this is FAM’s first collaboration, we are excited to be a part of this and to use the power of football to garner support for the Malayan tiger,” he said.

Maybank chairman Tan Sri Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa said through its M25 plan, under the sustainability charter, biodiversity was one of the bank’s key focus areas.

“And central to this is our commitment to the conservation of the Malayan tiger,” he said.

Maybank chief sustainability officer Shahril Azuar Jimin said, “We are at a critical moment where we may lose our tigers in the next few years.

“As such, Maybank has partnered with WWF-Malaysia since 2016 as part of collective efforts to protect this majestic animal.”

“We would like to see Malaysia’s football supporters turn into tiger supporters and together, build a nationwide voice to create action and get the ball rolling,” said WWF-Malaysia executive director and chief executive officer Sophia Lim.

With the lunar Year of the Tiger around the corner, nationwide awareness and actionable steps implemented swiftly would be needed to counter extinction of the Malayan tiger, she added.

The Score for Tigers challenge ends on Aug 30.

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