Tiger death in Kelantan ignites calls to end animal-human conflict

PETALING JAYA: The death of a tiger in Kelantan has once again highlighted the never-ending conflict between animals and humans.

The Malaysian Nature Society has thus called for the restoration of the tigers’ habitat in the Central Forest Spine.

Issues of land clearing, logging, poaching and the lack of ensuring the connectivity in the Central Forest Spine have contributed to animal-human conflict, said its president Dr Ahmad Ismail.

“We need to look at the tiger’s habitat and restore connectivity in the Central Forest Spine as it will avoid further conflict with humans.

“Tigers are solitary animals and they move far. When their habitat is big enough, there is less opportunity for them to come into contact with people unless there are those who go out to hunt them.

“When the forest is smaller, it exposes the deer and the wild boars to human beings.

“The tigers chase these animals, and this is when you will see contact with humans,” he said, adding that cattle and goat farming near the forests is a problem too as it entices the tiger to roam there.

Last Friday, it was reported that an Orang Asli man was mauled to death by a tiger at Kampung Sau near Pos Bihai in Gua Musang.

The Kelantan Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) team pursued the tiger and killed the animal after it tried to attack them.

Perhilitan said that the decision to open fire was in line with Section 52 of the Wildlife Conservation Act as the animal was a danger to human life.

According to the Improving Connectivity in the Central Forest Spine (IC-CFS) project, the Central Forest Spine is divided into four main forests covering a total area of 5.3 million hectares, encompassing Pahang, Johor, Perak, Terengganu, Selangor, Kelantan, Kedah, and Negri Sembilan.

The area provides sanctuary for endangered species in the country such as the Malayan tiger, Malayan sun bear and Malayan tapir.

It is also an ecosystem that provides water supply, climate regulation, soil protection and alleviates flood risks, among others.

Ahmad stressed that it is important to ensure that the tiger’s habitat is large enough and that the Central Forest Spine problems are resolved.

Beside the Central Forest Spine, he said close monitoring on the tiger population by the authorities is also necessary.

On social media, Malaysians lamented the death of the tiger.

“There needs to be an internal inquiry by Perhilitan’s headquarters to validate the statement made by Kelantan Perhilitan. This is the issue that the public wants to know considering that tigers are an endangered species in Malaysia.

“I express my sympathies to the victim and the tiger. Both deserved better,” MM Tirmizi MY wrote.

Oven Berasap wrote: “My heart broke as an animal lover. Perhilitan should protect the animal. The animal became violent as its habitat is being encroached by humans.”

However, Ilmi Narawi said human lives were more important.

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