Tiger attacks: Urgent steps needed to stem decline of prey species, says WWF-Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: WWF-Malaysia says the decline in the wild boar and, in the long run, Sambar deer populations must be addressed urgently.

In a statement on Monday (Nov 13), it said the prey augmentation approach is needed to establish a healthier ecosystem that reduces the need for tigers to venture into human settlements to seek sustenance.

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The call comes after the recent tragedies in Pos Pasik, Gua Musang, with the deaths of three men from tiger attacks within a month.

“The proximity of the incidents, with the most recent occurring less than 48 hours after the previous one, raises great concern.

“While the Kelantan Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) partially attributes these occurrences to the 'shrinking' of the jungle, it is crucial to acknowledge the additional factor of insufficient prey species for tigers, contributing to the rise in fatal tiger-human interactions on the peninsula,” the report said.

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On Oct 13, WWF-Malaysia emphasised the critical need to increase the prey population for tigers.

Apart from the declining Sambar deer, the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in domestic pigs in 2021 spread to the wild population and threatened the survival of the boar population in Malaysian forests.

According to the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), the ASF virus, with a mortality rate of up to 100%, affects both domestic and wild pigs.

“In Sabah, the recovery of the bearded pig was recorded only after more than a year.

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“The dire depletion of prey species in Peninsular Malaysia has created an ecological imbalance, forcing tigers to seek alternative food sources for survival, including domestic livestock, which often brings them into conflict with humans,” it said.

The latest attack by a tiger on a Myanmar national took place at a rubber plantation in Meranto in Gua Musang, Kelantan.

Previously, an Indonesian rubber tapper was mauled by a tiger in Kuala Wok, near Pos Pasik.

In early October, an Orang Asli man was found dead with a leg missing in the Pos Pasik Forest and with claw marks on his head and body.

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