Which ultimately led to its death ?
Malaysian Facebook user Khairul Azri took to his profile to share several pictures and a video of an incident whereby a Malayan tapir was in the process of being captured by some authorities.
According to Khairul, the JPAM (Malaysian Civil Defence Force) and the BOMBA (Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia) were called in to help capture (and hopefully rescue/release?) the said Malayan tapir, which had accidentally run into the Taman Desa Saujana Langat neighbourhood in Hulu Langat late Tuesday (24th October 2017) night. To his dismay, the authorities’ handling of the gentle, herbivorous animal ultimately led to its death.
In his Facebook post, Khairul explained that the said Malayan tapir was strangled with what looks like a rope, as if it was a sacrificial animal. After a brief struggle, it died. Khairul even uploaded a video of the Malayan tapir, clearly alive and struggling to free itself from the rope’s restraint.
Khairul’s post has since gone viral, garnering over 5,800 shares in under 24 hours. However, the worst was yet to come.
According to Khairul, the animal’s carcass was then left by the roadside, and when morning came, it was discovered that it had been mutilated. “Its nose and ears were mutilated. I don’t know why they did that,” he wrote in his caption. From his picture, it also looks like someone had attempted to skin the animal. Khairul also noted that PERHILITAN (the Department of Wildlife and National Parks) only arrived that morning, about 12 hours after the incident, to collect the carcass.
Netizens are, of course, up in arms over the incident. “This is the result of deforestation, to the point where another life is forced out to seek food and shelter. It died and then it was abandoned. Where did the brains of these humans go? It’s sad to watch the tapir die when it wanted to live. It’s a protected species,” Syaza Amani wrote. “I watched the video. Really sad. I can’t imagine such a sweet animal treated this way. Why??? Who is responsible for this. Please seek justice. So cruel and really unacceptable. Please….?,” Sylvia Ben commented.
For the uninitiated, the Malayan tapir, also called the Asian tapir, is the largest of the 5 species of tapir and the only one native to Asia. Its numbers have decreased in recent years, and today, there are only approximately 1,100 Malayan tapirs left. The main threat to the Malayan tapirs is human activity, including deforestation for agricultural purposes, flooding caused by the damming of rivers for hydroelectric projects, and illegal trade.
There’s even a “World Tapir Day” (read: #TapiTapir) which aims to raise awareness that our local tapirs are in danger of extinction.
Wikipedia also notes that Malayan tapirs have very poor eyesight, making them rely greatly on their excellent sense of smell and hearing to go about in their everyday lives.
They have small, beady eyes with brown irises (often covered in a blue haze, which is corneal cloudiness thought to be caused by repetitive exposure to light) on either side of their faces. This causes the Malayan tapir to have very inadequate vision, both on land and in water. Tapirs are also most active at night and since they have poor eyesight, it is harder for them to search for food and avoid predators in the dark.
The Minister of Natural Resources and Enviroment of Malaysia, YB. Datuk Seri Dr. Haji Wan Junaidi Bin Tuanku Jaafar, has since responded, releasing a statement on his Facebook page to confirm that he has instructed Director General of PERHILITAN to investigate the incident and make the necessary police reports.