MWCF Supports WWF-Malaysia in Saving Tigers and Turtles
The funding, which totalled RM52,500, is for the national conservation organization to carry out tiger conservation work through community engagement and education in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex (BTFC), and an awareness campaign around Terengganu to celebrate World Sea Turtle Day (WSTD) 2014. The funding is for a period of one year, from July 2013 to June 2014.
“WWF-Malaysia appreciates the funding as it will go a long way toward the work we are doing on two iconic endangered species in Malaysia – tiger and sea turtle,” said the Executive Director/CEO of WWF-Malaysia, Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma.
Under the National Tiger Action Plan for Malaysia, BTFC is recognized as one of three priority sites for tiger conservation in Peninsular Malaysia and is considered to be one of the strongholds for tigers, believed to be supporting at least 10% of the guesstimated 500 tigers in the country.
“The most serious and immediate threat to the survival of tigers is poaching. While we have set up our own Wildlife Poaching Unit in BTFC in 2008, we recognize that tiger conservation efforts require more positive cooperation and involvement from various stakeholders including local communities such as the indigenous people,” said Dr Dionysius.
“Conservation can only work if people care. Thus, local communities, with greater awareness on conservation issues, can help protect flagship species and reduce the loss of biodiversity within their area,” he added.
With the funding from MWCF, WWF-Malaysia will be conducting an awareness workshop on wildlife hunting for the local communities in BTFC, and a series of community engagement sessions which will include training the Orang Asli in species conservation and protection, as well as capacity building on the implementation of sustainable livelihood and supplementary revenue generation.
The recently approved MWCF funding is also for conservation work on sea turtles. Over the years, WWF-Malaysia has raised awareness on turtle conservation through public programmes that involved government agencies, local communities, universities, schools and private stakeholders. One of the key messages at these outreach programmes is to ‘not sell, buy or eat turtle eggs’.
“We have been relentless in our efforts in raising awareness on the need to protect the endangered species and their nesting beaches. For this purpose, since 2011, we have been
actively involved in the WSTD celebration. We had a successful WSTD celebration this year, themed “Race Against Extinction” which featured a full-day programme. The highlight of the celebration was the first Turtle Run in Peninsular Malaysia,” said Dr Dionysius.
“WWF-Malaysia welcomes the funding from MWCF to carry out a two-day awareness campaign in conjunction with WSTD 2014, through road shows covering several towns from Chukai in the southern tip of Terengganu to the northern district of Setiu. We will be working with several partners to raise the awareness among members of the public on the need for turtle conservation and to encourage the public to participate in exciting learning experiences about turtles,” he said.
“Our ultimate goal is to achieve a national ban on the trade and consumption of turtle eggs,” Dr Dionysius said. At present, only the sale of Leatherback Turtle eggs are banned in Terengganu, while the eggs of other turtle species can be consumed and traded.
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For further information:
Yeoh Lin Lin, Head of Communications, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +603-78033772 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org