IPOH: The Royal Belum State Park in Perak will be designated as a key recovery and conservation area for tigers, which are facing extinction from poaching in the country.
WWF Malaysia CEO Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said this was a big step towards creating a long-term conservation plan for the Malayan tiger, which now only numbers over 200.
The first country in the region to do so, Malaysia will follow the minimum standards of the Conservation Assured, Tiger Standards (CATS) in the effective management of the species.
“As the first tiger recovery site in South East Asia to be CATS registered, we are confident that ongoing conservation efforts in Belum-Temenggor will be strengthened significantly.
“When a country registers for CATS, it sends a strong message to the world showing an individual conservation area or networks’ commitment to protecting tigers,” he said in his speech during a Global Tiger Day ceremony here yesterday.
Also present was Perak Environment Committee chairman Datuk Dr Muhammad Amin Zakaria.
While the global population of the species has slightly increased to 3,890, that of the Malayan Tiger has fallen to as low as 250 from an estimated 500 back in 2003.
It is now under the Critically Endangered category in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Dr Dionysius said CATS was one of the many initiatives that had effectively made Belum-Temenggor a model site for conservation among the 37 ecological corridors identified under the Central Forest Spine Master Plan.
He also hoped that the use of CATS could also spread to other parts of the country — not just in state parks but in forest reserves as well.
“Tigers are not just restricted to state and national parks,” he said.
Dr Muhammad Amin said the state promised to champion the Malayan tiger, adding that it was a privilege and responsibility to conserve the species.
“It is indeed very sad to note that our tigers are still threatened despite the intensity of efforts taken to protect them,” he said. It was reported that WWF Malaysia and various government agencies were aiming for a “zero poaching” status for the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex by 2020.