Major Win in Tiger Conservation for Malaysia and Southeast Asia with CA|TS
The CA|TS registration for Royal Belum State Park was officially announced today during the closing ceremony of Global Tiger Day 2017 celebrations here in Ipoh, attended by key officials and leaders from various stakeholder organizations. The celebration, which comprised of a public awareness carnival and a friendly futsal match, was jointly organized by WWF-Malaysia and Maybank Foundation.
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. This alarming decline is clear evidence for the need to do more when it comes to conserving our tigers.
Maybank Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Encik Shahril Azuar Jimin, is confident that this is a great move for Malaysia’s tiger conservation efforts. “Maybank and Maybank Foundation believes that it is very important to work towards the conservation of tigers in the wild as it represents conserving a whole ecosystem of wild habitat for future generations. The Malayan tiger has long been associated with Maybank symbolically. We are committed to ensuring that we do our best to protect our national animal and symbol of strength,” he said.
WWF-Malaysia Executive Director / CEO, Dato’ Dr Dionysius S.K. Sharma said, “This is a big step towards creating a long-term conservation impact for the Malayan tiger. As the first tiger recovery site in Southeast Asia to be CA|TS-registered, we are confident that on-going conservation efforts in Belum-Temengor will be strengthened significantly. When a country registers for CA|TS, it sends a strong message to the world showing an individual tiger conservation area or network’s commitment to protecting their tigers.”
Perak State Parks Corporation Acting General Manager, Puan Noor Asmah Mohd Nawawi, added that adopting CA|TS will bring long-term benefits for our tigers. “CA|TS is a new approach to tiger conservation, which focuses on setting standards to guide assessments and implementation of results. This will help those working with tiger priority sites to understand what to aim for, and which areas need improvement or more attention. Malaysia now joins the likes of Nepal, India, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, in protecting our tigers.”
On behalf of Perak Sate Government, YB Dato’ Dr Muhammad Amin bin Zakaria (Perak State Education, Science, Environmental and Green Technology Committee Chairman) reiterated the state’s promise to champion Malayan tigers.
“It is both a privilege and a responsibility to conserve the Malayan tiger in the state of Perak. It is indeed very sad to note that our tigers are still threatened, despite the intensity of efforts taken to protect them. Tiger conservation is a state priority, and this move of registering Royal Belum State Park under CA|TS is a testament to our commitment of saving tigers within the country. Many deliberations and decisions have been discussed in great detail on Belum-Temengor Forest Complex, particularly in addressing poaching and illegal wildlife trade. On behalf of the Perak State Government, I am certain that the CA|TS registration will raise the bar on collaborative conservation amongst stakeholders in the state,” he said.
The greatest and most urgent threat to tiger conservation is poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. Wildlife trafficking is the third most globally-traded illicit commodity after drugs and weapons. 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 Malayan tiger conservation efforts in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex is a collaborative initiative with multiple stakeholders, including Perak State Government, Perak State Parks Corporation, Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN), Economic Planning Unit of Perak, Forestry Department of Perak, Royal Malaysian Police, Malaysian Armed Forces and WWF-Malaysia (amongst others).
In the 1950s, Malaysia was thought to have as many as 3,000 tigers. In 2014, the number of Malayan tigers declined to an estimated 250-340, down from our previous best guess of 500 tigers in 2003. 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.
WWF-Malaysia and Maybank Foundation, along with all key stakeholders, are dedicated to conserving our Malayan tigers, and committed to doubling to the number of tigers by 2022.
For more information, please contact:
Communications Coordinator, Peninsular Malaysia Terrestrial Conservation Programme (WWF-Malaysia)
Tel: +603-7450 3773