PUTRAJAYA: The Malayan tapir will not be joining the other black and white icon, the panda, as part of Malaysia’s diplomacy with other countries.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the Malaysian Government had its own way of making the conservation of the species a success through its cooperation with Japan.
“It’s certainly not like the Panda diplomacy,” he said in an interview, referring to the gift of pandas by China as a symbol of friendship with various countries.
The tapir – known as the eater of nightmares among the Japanese – is protected in Malaysia.
A pair of tapir has recently been sent to the world-class Nagasaki Bio Park for 10 years under a conservation programme by Malaysia and Japan.
“With the ongoing pressure facing the Malayan tapir in peninsular Malaysia, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) deems it timely to prepare a Conservation Action Plan for the species to guide conservation management through the next decade,” he said.
Between 2010 and last year, 68 Malayan tapirs were rescued while 54 were victims of road accidents in the last 10 years.
Perhilitan identified 133 locations – known as hotspots – for tapir crossings.
To help curb such accidents, Dr Wan Junaidi said 236 “Tapir Crossing Signboards”, 37 transverse bars and 24 amber lights were installed at these hot spots to warn road users.