Youth Dedicated Earth Day to Malaysia’s Most Iconic Wildlife – Pak Belang
With only as few as 250 Malayan tigers left in the wild, Malaysia is racing against time to save our national symbol from extinction. Hence, the fourth edition of Sembang@WWF aimed to illustrate the various factors that contribute to the extinction of this species, its connection to the everyday Malaysian, as well as to explore the role of youth in tiger conservation.
With the magic of storytelling which connects us to humanity, Sembang@WWF was created four years ago as an opportunity for students to speak on various environmental issues. Held each year in conjunction with the Global Earth Day, the event aims to engage and transport the students’ mind to stories on poverty, haze, wildlife poaching, shark finning and this year it’s all about tigers.
“I’m pleased to see how Sembang@WWF has gained momentum over the years. We received more participation at the school and campus level this year. It was a tough decision to choose the final presenters to speak at the national level. This speaking platform is an instrument for us to listen and share ideas on what we can do as individuals to make a change for a better environment,” said Mr Thiagarajan Nadeson, Head of Markets and Education.
He added, “Youth present the voices of tomorrow, they will be our future teachers, policy makers, voters and will play many other important roles. The exposure should begin from now, so they will be able to make informed decisions and willing to change their mindset and behaviours for a more sustainable future.”
“Sembang@WWF is a great platform for people like me to share our thoughts, views and aspirations for a better Malaysia – one that is aware and sensitive to our environmental issues. This year’s theme on tiger conservation has really helped me to understand the dilemma of the Malayan tiger better. I really hope today’s talks will inspire youth to do more for our tigers,” said one of the speakers, Delisha Kaur Boparai from SMK Damansara Jaya.
Five young conservation heroes took the stage to speak about the significance of tigers to our ecosystem, the threats to their existence, and the role that youth can play to support the conservation of the species in this digital age. A special Silat Harimau (Malay art of self-defense) show was also demonstrated to prove that the tiger’s existence goes beyond the Malay’s folk-tales or proverbs; as the animal is symbolic to Malay culture, portraying bravery and power.
The half day event at Sunway Nexis, Kota Damansara also featured a forum discussion titled “Joining the Conversation: What It Really Takes to Save Our Stripes”. Expert speakers from the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT), TRAFFIC, Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) and WWF-Malaysia sat down together to enlighten participants in deepening their current understanding of challenges and issues surrounding tiger conservation efforts in our country.
“Youth today underestimate their abilities to affect real change when it comes to conservation and environmental issues. There are multiple ways that youth can positively influence the future of tigers in Malaysia, more so now in the digital age. Use your digital and social platforms to share tiger related information; and voice your opinions on protecting the Malayan tiger. Help us educate fellow Malaysians on the urgent need to stand up for our tigers. If we lose our Malayan tigers to poaching and other threats, we stand to lose much more than just a national symbol – we risk losing the integrity of our ecosystems and its services,” said WWF-Malaysia’s Tiger Landscape Lead, Dr Mark Rayan Darmaraj who sat in as one of the panelists in the forum.
“If the tiger were to go extinct in Malaysia over the next decade, what would we say to the next generation? How would we explain to them that we let this majestic creature, a symbol of bravery and courage, slip through in our efforts of aspiring to be a sustainably developed country? This is why what we do today matters in inspiring action for the future,” added Dr Mark.
The Eco Champion Awards ceremony also took place to recognise the effort and passion of teachers as well as students from the Eco-Schools and Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) EcoCampus programmes. Special awards were presented to commendable individuals who were involved in sustainable initiatives within their schools, campus and surrounding communities.
Education for Sustainable Development Programme, WWF-Malaysia
~Empowering Citizens of Tomorrow~
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For more information, please contact:
Senior Communications Officer, Education for Sustainable Development Programme
Tel: +603-7450 3773
Communications Manager, Peninsular Malaysia Conservation Programme
Tel: +603-7450 3773