ON Oct 26, the Lipis District Forestry Office, Lipis District and Land Office, the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT) and members of the public planted over 100 tree seedlings in the Sungai Yu Tiger Corridor, Pahang. The corridor is the last linkage between Malaysia’s largest tiger landscapes – the Main Range and Greater Taman Negara. The trees for tigers were planted at Puncak Botak, a clear-felled patch of forest on a hilltop discovered by MYCAT volunteers in April last year.
Straddling over the corridor are the three eco-viaducts of the Central Spine Road. Despite the foresight of the Government to build the green infrastructure, the forest surrounding the viaducts have become sparse and are unable to support wildlife population due to poaching and illegal clearing.
Puncak Botak is located adjacent to the world’s longest viaduct built for wild tigers at the centre of the corridor. In the valley between Puncak Botak and Sungai Yu are illegal rubber plantations where some of the trees are mature enough for tapping.
Since 2010, MYCAT has coordinated anti-poaching and anti-deforestation surveillance walks called CAT Walks in the corridor.
Citizen Action for Tigers (CAT) Walks are conducted by citizen conservationists with support from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.
In July 2016, MYCAT in collaboration with the Lipis District and Land Office launched a reforestation project with support from the Pahang royal family. These collective efforts between the Government and the public send a strong message that saving the critically endangered Malayan tiger and its forest requires everyone to work together.
It is extremely encouraging to note that the Lipis Forestry and Land Office took the initiative to reforest Puncak Botak, said Dr Kae Kawanishi, tiger biologist and MYCAT general manager.
With support from the Government and members of the public, we are determined to restore the tiger population and forest at the Sungai Yu corridor, he added.
According to Suzalinur Manja Bidin, Citizen Action for Tigers programme manager, illegal felling and mining continue to threaten the corridor. They support the Pahang state’s decision to eventually gazette Puncak Botak as a forest reserve and hope this would come into effect as soon as possible.
While hundreds of citizen conservationists continue to patrol the corridor to deter poaching and deforestation, MYCAT envisions the restoration of 52ha of the degraded Sungai Yu watershed for implementation of the National Tiger Conservation Action Plan and Central Forest Spine master plan.
MYCAT’s citizen conservation programmes at Sungai Yu receives financial support from the National Conservation Trust Fund, United States Fish and Wildlife Service and Wildlife Reserves of Singapore. The saplings planted were supplied by the Forestry Office.
Sign up to become citizen conservationists at www.citizenactionfortigers.my or help MYCAT reach its target of planting 1,000 more trees this year by donating RM20/tree at www.mycat.my
MALAYSIAN CONSERVATION ALLIANCE FOR TIGERS (MYCAT)