Towards Zero Poaching – Tiger Conservation a top Priority for Perak
“Tiger conservation is a state priority. Currently, the greatest and most urgent threats to our tigers are poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. Perak state is proud to be home to our Malayan tigers in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex. We have always been supportive of wildlife conservation, and it will always remain a priority for us. This dialogue is meant to serve as a platform to revisit our existing efforts, and move towards more innovative solutions in achieving zero poaching in the state,” said Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry.
Wildlife trafficking is the third most globally-traded illicit commodity after drugs and weapons. Currently, poaching is the most urgent and critical threat to the survival of Malayan tigers in the wild. Between 2000 and 2015 alone, it is estimated that parts from 103 tigers were seized in Malaysia. In addition, from 2010-2013, more than 2,241 poacher traps and 1,728 illegal camp sites were found by NGOs working on tiger conservation.
The Belum-Temengor Forest Complex is located in northern Perak and spans about 3,000 km2 – an area of about four times the size of Singapore. It has been identified as one of three priority sites for tigers in the country under the National Tiger Conservation Action Plan. Belum-Temengor represents a critical area for tigers as the breeding population of tigers found there is an important source population for the larger Northern Main Range landscape, which, at over 8,000 km2, is one of the largest contiguous habitats for tigers in Peninsular Malaysia.
WWF-Malaysia Executive Director / CEO Dato’ Dr Dionysius S.K. Sharma added that conserving our natural heritage can only be possible if all parties continue to work together towards a common goal. Today’s dialogue was a great testament to this commitment.
“Conservation is a collective effort, and is more effective when all stakeholders are synergized towards the same vision. WWF-Malaysia is pleased that government agencies and managing authorities alike are playing a crucial role in conservation,” he said.
He also commended the Perak State Government for leading by example with reference to key conservation achievements.
“The establishment of Royal Belum State Park in 2007, and the gazettement of a critical ecological corridor as the Amanjaya Forest Reserve in 2013 were crucial wins for wildlife conservation. Furthermore, building a viaduct for wildlife crossings along this corridor was also completed by the Federal Government in 2015. The state’s new vision for zero poaching along with all these initiatives have effectively made Belum-Temengor a model site for conservation among the 37 ecological corridors identified under the Central Forest Spine Master Plan for Ecological Linkages,” he added.
The concept of zero poaching is not new. In fact, Nepal has been able to achieve 365 days of zero poaching between 2011 and 2014 respectively. By definition, zero poaching is achieved when ‘there are no detectable traces of poaching activity in the landscape over a set time period and there is no discernible impact on a species to recover and sustain an increase in population’.
In the 1950s, Malaysia was thought to have as many as 3,000 tigers. While the global tiger population has slightly increased to 3,890, the Malayan tiger population estimate has sadly declined to as low as 250 from an estimated 500 back in year 2003. In June 2015, it was moved from the ‘Endangered’ to ‘Critically Endangered’ category in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Poaching, habitat loss, forest degradation and fragmentation all play key roles in the unprecedented rate at which tiger numbers are declining. If these threats to tiger conservation are not mitigated soon, it is highly possible that we will find local extinctions in important tiger areas in Malaysia over the next few years.
The proceedings of the high-level conservation dialogue today were held in the presence of the Sultan of Perak, DYMM Paduka Seri Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah.
The Malayan tiger conservation efforts in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex is a collaborative initiative with multiple stakeholders, including Perak State Parks Corporation, Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Economic Planning Unit of Perak, Forestry Department of Perak, Royal Malaysian Police, Malaysian Armed Forces and WWF-Malaysia (amongst others).
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For more information, please contact:
Communications Coordinator, Peninsular Malaysia Terrestrial Conservation Programme (WWF-Malaysia)
Tel: +603-7450 3773