WWF: Malayan Tigers need all our Help
Malayan tigers are facing existential threats in the wild. Photo Credit: WWF
A half century ago there were still around 3,000 tigers in the wild around Malaysia. Today there may well be as few as 250 left, less than a tenth of that figure. And if we don’t do all we can to save the last few hundred tigers, there won’t be any more left soon.
“In the 1950’s, there were an estimated 3,000 Malayan Tigers,” stresses Dionysius Sharma, the executive director for the Malaysian chapter of the renowned conservationist group World Wide Fund for Nature. “In 1990, statistics by Perhilitan (Department of Wildlife and National Parks) showed there were 500 tigers left,” he added. “Now, the latest figure is between 250 and 340 tigers.”
Sadly, this stark assessment of the situation of tigers in Malaysia will not come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. Conservationists have long been warning that unless habitat loss, forest fragmentation and poaching are stopped, Malaysia’s iconic striped predators are facing very bleak prospects.
“We must make a call to save the tiger from extinction because it will happen if you just sit and do nothing,” the prominent Malaysian conservationist says. “So Malaysians, not only the government or non-governmental organisations (NGO), but all of us need to play our role to save the tiger from extinction.”
We certainly agree.
For too long, we pointed it out here on Clean Malaysia exactly a year ago, many Malaysians have been treating tigers not so much as live creatures with their own specific needs but rather as abstract beings that exist “somewhere out there” unseen in forests. In effect, tigers have been turned into disembodied creatures that stand for the values we cherish: valor, might, beauty. They thrive in popular culture but languish in the real world within the remaining patches of their lost habitats.
We cannot just expect conservationist groups like WWF and the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT) to save tigers all alone. We must all help save the country’s beleaguered tigers any way we can. We can raise funds for conservation efforts, we can spread the word about the plight of wild tigers, we can lobby decision makers for better forest management policies, and we can call for harsher penalties for poachers and wildlife traffickers.