Set Up National Tiger Task Force to Combat Poaching or Risk Losing the Malayan Tiger and Other Wildlife, Urged WWF-Malaysia, TRAFFIC
It is thought that there are now less than 500 tigers left in the entire country which includes the three tiger priority landscapes – Belum Temengor, Taman Negara and Endau-Rompin forest complexes.
The call was made in a memorandum that WWF-Malaysia and TRAFFIC delivered to the Prime Minister’s Office today, together with some 100 cards which carried “Save Our Tiger” messages from members of the public.
The Task Force should be established under the purview of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment as the cooperation of multiple departments and agencies is essential to ensure greater and more comprehensive enforcement.
The memorandum, which cited poaching as “the most immediate threat to the survival of wild tigers”, reported that between 2010 and 2011, close to 1,000 snares were detected in the tiger priority landscapes.
Local and foreign poaching syndicates are emptying the forests of tigers, their prey, and other wildlife. Most of these poachers are armed and they, especially the foreigners, enter the forests without any fear of getting caught, mentioned the memorandum.
Poor sentences meted out to tiger poachers and low prosecution rates of wildlife criminals were also highlighted as stumbling blocks in the fight to save the Malayan tigers.
The memorandum also outlined specific mandates of the Task Force which included identifying resource needs in terms of personnel, equipment, facilities, training and incentives to combat poaching; coordinating the joint enforcement efforts between the Forestry Department of Malaysia and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks as well as other agencies such as the Royal Malaysian Army, Royal Malaysian Customs Department and Royal Malaysian Police; and ensuring the effective implementation of the National Tiger Action Plan for Malaysia.
These are ambitious initiatives but WWF-Malaysia and TRAFFIC are optimistic that with the setting up and effective implementation of the Task Force, the rampant poaching of tigers and other wildlife can be brought under control.
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TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. TRAFFIC is a joint programme of IUCN and WWF.
For further information, please contact:
Yeoh Lin Lin, Head of Communications, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +603-78033772 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth John, Senior Communications Officer, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia
T: 03-78803940 Email: email@example.com