Artificial insemination may help raise tiger numbers, says Nik Nazmi

Nik Nazmi, speaking to reporters after visiting the National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Sungkai, says the initiative is still at the trial stage. – BERNAMApic

TANJUNG MALIM: Artificial insemination is among the reproductive methods being employed to arrest the critical population decline of the Malayan tiger.

Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said the National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Sungkai is striving to overcome the naturally low birth rate of the endangered Panthera tigris jacksoni.

"Its efforts are still at the trial stage. There may be some problems including disease that could be affecting the ability of these tigers to reproduce naturally.

"That is why we are considering artificial insemination. We hope the population of this species will increase as targeted," he told reporters after a visit to the centre here on Thursday (Sept 21).

Earlier, Nik Nazmi accompanied Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to the centre.

The Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah and the Regent of Pahang Tengku Mahkota Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah also joined His Majesty in the visit, which began at about 11.30am.

During the visit, Al-Sultan Abdullah was briefed by officials of the Wildlife Protection and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) on the centre's operations and witnessed conservation initiatives for Malayan tiger, sun bear, tapir and gaur.

Perhilitan aims to increase the Malayan tiger population to 400 in the next 10 years from the current count of about 150.

Meanwhile, Nik Nazmi said his ministry took note of the threat of extinction to other endangered wildlife species such as the Asian elephant, tapir, sun bear and gaur.

He said to address the issue, the ministry through Perhilitan has set up conservation centres such as the National Elephant Conservation Centre and Malayan Tiger Conservation Centre, both in Lanchang, Pahang.

In addition, it also set up a Tapir Conservation Centre in Kenaboi, Negri Sembilan and the Sg Dusun Wildlife Conservation Centre, also for tapir.

For gaur conservation, the centres are in Sungkai, Perak and Jenderak Selatan in Pahang. – Bernama

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