PETALING JAYA: As Malaysia faces Global Tiger Day with a rapidly-diminishing tiger population, experts are calling for more patrolling and a multi-ministry tiger committee in an effort to halt the decline.
“We’ve reached a critical stage - we’re losing our tigers at quick pace and we need to stop the bleeding. We need thousands of boots on the ground to go and patrol the forests,” said Traffic South-East Asia director Kanitha Krishnasamy.
The Malayan tiger, which is indigenous to Peninsular Malaysia and the southern tip of Thailand, has seen its numbers plummet from about 3,000 in the 1950s to under 200 today, thanks to a rise in poaching.
To combat this, the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) launched Ops Belang, an initiative to patrol Malaysia's forests. The operation, which will see 200 staff members monitoring the forest, is part of a two-year “Harimau Malaya Kita” campaign by the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry to save the tigers.
WWF Malaysia Tiger Landscape Lead Dr Mark Rayan Darmaraj lauded the ministry’s efforts, but also called for more ministries to join the fight, citing Nepal’s multi-ministry National Tiger Conservation Committee and Wildlife Crime Control Coordination Committee.
“We looked at countries like India and Nepal because tiger numbers have increased there. What we found was that they had set up tiger committees chaired by the prime minister, the highest political will,” he said.
“And because they had these committees, the ministries were able to convene and figure out holistic solutions to the tiger population problem.”
Watch: Is it too late for the Malayan tiger? | Newsflash
* Newsflash is a weekly explainer series by R.AGE that discusses Malaysia’s biggest issues. Watch the full series here.
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