JOHOR BARU: A group of expatriates have successfully raised over RM20,000 through a cricket tournament in the hope of creating awareness on the Malaysian tiger species that are on the brink of extinction.
Australian Ralston Thiedeman’s who organised the tournament said his love for tigers inspired him to organise the event with an auction session to raise funds for awareness programmes on the Malayan tigers.
Thiedeman, who is the founder and captain of the Jolly Wallabies cricket team, said that after learning that Malayan tigers were on the verge of extinction, he decided that he needed to do something to help the species.
“The idea to raise fund for this species came about when I bumped into the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) during an event recently.
“I was taken aback by the sincerity of the people who were willing to work hard for flora and fauna, and that was when I knew that the Jolly Wallabies had to do something too,” he told StarMetro when met here on Nov 15.
Describing tigers as ‘noble and beautiful survivors’, Thiedeman said that his team immediately jumped onto the bandwagon when he approached them about the idea.
“It does not matter that most of us are not Malaysians but we just want to create awareness about the uniqueness of this animal among the local community here,” he added.
Thiedeman, who has been residing in Malaysia for the past seven years, said that two other cricket teams from Singapore also supported the charity event held at the Johor Cricket Academy here on Nov 15.
Meanwhile, MNS Johor branch chairman Vincent Chow said that many were unaware of the endangered Malayan tiger or scientifically known as the “pantheras tigris jacksoni” species.
“The Malayan tiger is actually sub-species of the Indo-China tigers, which is threatened by the illegal wildlife trade as well as the loss and fragmentation of forest.
“Currently about only 200 to 300 of this species are left in Malaysia and 10% of it can be found in the Johor National Park,” he said adding that that the tiger parts were in high demand for traditional medicine purposes.
Chow also applauded the Jolly Wallabies team, which consist mostly of expatriates from Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, England, Pakistan, Bangladesh and South Africa, for their contribution and support towards saving the Malayan tigers.
“Locals should definitely take this as an example, as everyone can contribute to ensure the continuous existence of nature for our future generation,” he said, questioning if foreigners could commit in making a difference, then why not locals.