Our heart aches at news of the Malayan tiger is being being pushed to the point of extinction.
The Malayan tiger is also known as Malaysia’s national animal and it has appeared in various heraldry of Malaysian institutions such as Royal Malaysian Police, Maybank, Proton, and Football Association of Malaysia. If you paid close attention, you’d also notice that 2 tigers are depicted as supporters in the coat of arms of Malaysia. It symbolises bravery and strength to Malaysians.
Of course, who can forget that it’s also the nickname for the Malaysian national football team aka “Harimau Malaya”.
According to a report from The Star, current estimates have pegged Malaysia’s tiger population at as little as 250 to 340 tigers in Peninsular forests, nearly half of the previous estimate of 500 tigers.
“Despite all efforts, including the strengthening of legislation and increased patrolling, tiger conservation across the vast tropical forest landscape continue to face challenges. Poaching for illegal commercial trade is the greatest and most urgent threat to tigers in Malaysia, followed by loss and fragmentation of forests,” said a joint statement by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) and the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (Mycat).
Commercial poaching has always been a problem and it occurs at varying levels in all tiger range states. In Malaysia, there is a substantial domestic market in recent years for tiger meat, manufactured tiger bone medicines, and other products.
It was added that the new estimates were made from studies conducted between 2010 to 2013 using camera traps under a standardised protocol at sites across 3 major tiger landscapes in Peninsular Malaysia. Though it said that more sites needed to be surveyed to determine a more robust tiger population estimate here, it added that the Malayan tiger now met the IUCN Red List criteria of “Critically Endangered”.
It previously classified as “Endangered” in 2008.
Previous moves to increase Malaysia’s tiger population to 1,000 by 2020, such as specified in the National Tiger Conservation Action Plan, were now considered “unachievable” 🙁