KEMAMAN: The driver of the car who had hit the Malayan tiger while driving along the East Coast Expressway (ECE) said it was an accident.
In a Facebook post, Syahrin Abdul Aziz criticised people who slammed him for hitting the endangered animal and sarcastically questioned them whether they meant that he had actually waited to crash his car into the tiger.
“How am I supposed to deliberately hit the tiger? It’s like I’m waiting (at) the right place at the right time waiting for a specific tiger to cross the road at a specific time and hit her with my car?,” he said.
However, others defended him and said that he should not be blamed for the accident.
In an earlier Facebook post, Syahrin said he was driving at a speed of about 100kph to 120kph on the ECE Phase 2.
He said when it happened, it was “very dark” and the nearest cars on both sides of the highway were at least 500m away from his vehicle.
Syahrin said at the 321.1km highway mark, the tiger suddenly appeared about 5m away from him. It was crossing the road from left to right and he could not avoid it.
A spokesman from the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) said Syahrin would not be charged as it was classified as an accident and that the matter was reported immediately to the authorities after it happened.
Meanwhile, the Terengganu Wildlife Department has confirmed that the tiger was from the wild, and did not escape from a nearby zoo, Bernama reported.
Its director Mohd Hasdi Husin said based on an autopsy, the tiger which was pregnant, had died from severe head injuries after being hit by the vehicle.
In the 1am incident on Saturday, the tiger was crossing the expressway when it was hit by the MPV heading from Kuala Lumpur towards Kuala Terengganu.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Wan Jaafar said a damaged highway fence may have led to a tiger’s death in Saturday’s a road accident.
He added that this might have led to the tiger crossing the road and the accident site was also 700m away from the Rasau forest reserve.
“Tigers weren’t the only animals that died around the East Coast Expressway Phase 2”, he said, adding that five Malayan tapirs and a sun bear were also hit by vehicles in the area since 2012.
Did you find this article insightful?