06 March 2015 | The Malayan Tiger News Release
Kuala Lumpur, 6 March 2015 – When it was revealed in 2014 that there may only be 250-340 wild Malayan tigers left, down from the previous estimate of 500, many might have wondered what tiger conservationists have been doing.
MYCAT Tracks: The Malayan Tiger’s Struggle for Existence, a report published by the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT), provides some answers. This issue profiles over a decade of trials and tribulations of tiger conservation in Malaysia, in the fight to keep this majestic species alive.
Comprising voices of NGO and government staff involved in tiger conservation as well as the Batek Orang Asli, MYCAT Tracks reflects upon past efforts and offers some frightening predictions.
The underlying message is that we will lose Malayan tigers in most of our forests in the next decade if Malaysia as a whole does not up our game very quickly.
There is one prominent aspiration to turn the tide around: for the Malaysian Prime Minister to be the leader in saving Malaysia’s national icon.
A key action would be to set up a Tiger Task Force that can mobilise resources to implement the National Tiger Conservation Action Plan, with the main priorities being to protect tigers from poaching and trade and safeguard tiger habitat from indiscriminate deforestation.
There also needs to be more quality scientific research to inform decision-making; better management of protected areas and increased involvement of business, local communities and citizen conservationists.
It is undeniable, however, that if not for a series of conscious conservation efforts by many quarters, the Malayan tiger might already be extinct in the wild.
In the Foreword of MYCAT Tracks, MYCAT General Manager Dr. Kae Kawanishi pays tribute to wildlife rangers who work on the ground, risking their lives to protect Malaysia’s biodiversity.
“Across gender, racial, religious, cultural and national differences, the tiger brought us together. More than being great wildlife rangers, they are great human beings. Their spirit lives in me. So the fight must go on.”
Malaysia’s success in keeping tigers alive, throughout a decade when other wild populations were lost, was also due to support from the public. MYCAT has 1,082 volunteers who helped spread conservation messages and protected tiger habitat.
Many more people need to join the battle; this latest volume of MYCAT Tracks is a plea for the silent majority to stand up and be counted.
An opportunity approaches. MYCAT’s flagship citizen conservation programme, Citizen Action for Tigers (CAT)2, is the only programme in Malaysia that enables volunteers to help protect tigers from poaching. From 9 to 23 March 2015, CAT will be taking part in an international voting process organised by the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA)3. The project with the most votes will win a grant.
For CAT, this means EUR30,000 to expand the programme, bringing more watchful eyes to the Sungai Yu Wildlife Corridor in Pahang, which links Taman Negara – the largest priority area for the Malayan tiger – with the Main Range (Banjaran Titiwangsa). Altogether, it forms the world’s fifth largest tiger landscape.
It will also mean furthering MYCAT’s collaboration with the local communities in the area, including Batek villagers and certified nature guides, for saving wildlife and forests while enhancing their livelihoods.
“It seems that the presence of citizen conservationists has reduced poaching activity as we are now seeing more wildlife signs in the corridor. If one day we find tiger pugmarks (footprints) in the corridor, it will be a dream come true,” said Suzalinur Manja Bin Bidin, the CAT Programme Manager.
“We are competing against five other projects from around the world. Winning this vote means Malaysians support saving Malaysia’s tigers. I urge everyone reading my words to take a few minutes to vote for the Malayan tiger,” added Dr. Kae.
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Notes to Editor:
1. The Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (PERHILITAN) and the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT) issued a joint statement entitled The Critical Status of the Malayan Tiger on 15 September 2014. The statement may be downloaded here.
2. Citizen Action for Tigers (CAT) is the first programme in Malaysia that enables the public to get involved in tiger conservation on the ground. CAT WalkTM (anti-poaching wilderness watches) brings small groups hiking or camping in the rainforests of the Sungai Yu Wildlife Corridor. Volunteers look out for signs of poachers, snares, and also tigers, elephants, sambar deer and other wildlife. Snares and traps found are recorded, deactivated and reported to the authorities. CAT Walkers also check camera traps to monitor wildlife. As a continual presence in the area is required to deter poaching, this project will run two scheduled weekend walks every month. Trips are led by trained and experienced leaders, and some are guided by Batek Orang Asli who will teach volunteers the art of foraging and animal tracking. CAT helps increase: tiger and sambar populations, the Batek’s chance of preserving their traditional hunter-gatherer culture, local ecotourism opportunities; and is a unique experience for outdoor enthusiasts. More information is available at www.citizenactionfortigers.my.
3. The European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) is a non-profit association made up of companies from the outdoor industry across Europe. EOCA aims to conserve wild places and ecosystems for future generations by supporting valuable conservation work and promoting care and respect for wild places. More details at www.outdoorconservation.eu.
Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT)*
For further enquiries, please contact:
Wong Pui May
MYCAT Secretariat’s Office
Tel: 03 7880 3940 / 017 682 1006
* Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT) is an alliance of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, Wildlife Conservation Society-Malaysia Programme and WWF-Malaysia, supported by PERHILITAN for joint implementation of the National Tiger Conservation Action Plan for Malaysia.
For more information about endangered species go to Bagheera.com
Find organizations saving endangered species at Saving Endangered Species.com
For more information about endangered tigers go to Tigers In Crisis.com
Find organizations saving endangered tigers at Saving Endangered Tigers.com