PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia may lose its tigers in their natural habitats within the next five to 10 years if no extraordinary measures are taken now to prevent this, says Energy and Natural Resources Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah.
He said the Malayan tiger’s population was at a worrying level and estimated to number between 250 and 340 only in the Malaysian peninsula’s tropical rain forests in 2014 compared to about 3,000 in the 1950’s.
The minister said this when officiating at a webinar held in conjunction with the World Tiger Day 2021 celebration themed, “Malayan Tigers: Their Survival, Our Shared Responsibility”, here, today.
Shamsul Anuar said the declining Malayan tiger population was due to several factors such as loss of habitats and food sources resulting from deforestation and lopsided land use.
He said the Malayan tiger had also been the main target of hunting activities and illegal animal trade due to the high demand in the black market.
“Let us together ensure that the Malayan tiger does not become extinct and the appearance (of two such tigers) in the Malaysian Coat of Arms remains. We do not want the Malayan tiger to only remain in name and pictures one day,” he added.
Shamsul Anuar was previously reported to have said that the government had identified some strategic actions to boost the initiatives in the protection and preservation of the habitats of Malaysia’s unique tiger species.
He said high-impact initiatives would be undertaken including enforcement patrols and control in the Malayan tiger’s habitats to combat encroachment and illegal hunting, while his ministry was also in the process of amending the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 for heavier penalties be imposed for the offence of hunting protected wildlife species.
The World Tiger Day has been celebrated annually after being agreed upon by the 13 Heads of State of Tiger Range Countries who attended the Global Tiger Summit at St. Petersburg, Russia in October 2010. The countries were Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam. — Bernama