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Camera traps set up by WWF-Malaysia have captured images of a female Malayan tiger and three cubs, signalling a message of hope for the critically endangered population.
23 September 2020 – Camera traps set up early this year and recently retrieved by WWF-Malaysia’s field team have revealed rare images of not one but four Malayan tigers. Tigers in Malaysia (commonly referred to as Malayan tigers) have been listed as critically endangered since 2015.
In the series of images (attached), a female tiger is seen crossing from right to left of the camera’s view, followed closely by three cubs, estimated to be between one and a half to two years old. A second set of images captured a month later also revealed a female tiger and three cubs, which were identified as the same family. The images were captured on camera traps set up this year funded by Maybank as part of its “Strengthening Tiger Conservation in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex” programme with WWF-Malaysia.
CEO of WWF-Malaysia, Sophia Lim said, “With less than 200 Malayan tigers left in the wild, this news comes as a timely message of hope for the species and for our continued tiger conservation efforts. We are grateful that the support of the Royal Malaysia Police has been instrumental in curbing poaching and wildlife crime.”
This revelation represents a significant outcome for all partners and donors of WWF-Malaysia in their collective efforts to preserve Malaysia’s national icon.
“This is what makes our journey worthwhile. We have supported WWF-Malaysia in their tiger conservation efforts since 2016 and have just renewed that commitment for another four-year term. To see outcomes such as this strengthens our resolve,” said Maybank Foundation CEO, Shahril Azuar Jimin.
WWF-Malaysia, in partnership with Maybank, had recently concluded a month-long Malayan tiger-themed campaign in conjunction with Global Tiger Day 2020, themed Roar for Life, with the clarion call for public support and donations for tiger conservation.
“Much of the funding we receive goes towards supporting the work of our anti-poaching and wildlife monitoring teams on the ground who cover great distances on foot, scouring the forest for snares and setting up camera traps,” explained Sophia.
“It is heartening to know that our collective efforts are enabling a safer environment for our Malayan tigers to breed in their natural environment. It is a long road but this gives us some indication of hope,” said Director of Perak State Park Corporation (PSPC), Mohamed Shah Redza Hussein.
“This detection suggests the presence of factors such as suitable habitat and prey. However, this also means that sustained and stronger anti-poaching efforts are required if we are to ensure that these cubs remain safe from poachers and are able to survive well into adulthood,” said Dato' Abdul Kadir bin Abu Hashim, Director-General of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (PERHILITAN).
“Poaching is the biggest threat to the Malayan tiger. To reverse the decline in tiger numbers, we will continue to collaborate closely with WWF-Malaysia and other conservation bodies to step up monitoring and enforcement,” he continued.
Conservationists opened this year’s Global Tiger Day with news of the ‘remarkable comeback’ of tigers in Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and Russia, a decade on from the launch of TX2, an ambitious scheme to double the population of the species by 2022, the next Chinese Lunar Year of the Tiger. The TX2 initiative was launched in 2010 when it was estimated that wild populations of tiger were at a historic low with an estimated 3,200 left across the tiger range countries.
While the global wild tiger population has since seen an increase to an estimated 3,900, tigers in Southeast Asia still remain in dire straits due to the snaring crisis. According to a recent WWF report, Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia's Snaring Crisis, an estimated 12 million snares are set every year throughout protected areas in Cambodia, Lao People's Democratic Republic and Viet Nam, while an average of 53,000 snares were removed annually from 11 protected areas in five Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia. One of Malaysia’s priority tiger landscapes, Belum-Temengor in Perak, saw a 50 per cent decline in tiger numbers from 2009 to 2018 which was likely due to widespread snaring.
Protecting the Malayan tiger requires more than just removing snares; national law enforcement and legislation must be strengthened to act as an effective deterrent against snaring. For these measures to be successful, the region will also need to invest more in the management of its protected areas.
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Selected Images From Camera Traps
Date 23 May 2020
Date 23 May 2020
Image reference [RCNX3335]
Timestamp 5:47:22 Mum followed by Cub 1
Image reference [RCNX3346]
Timestamp 5:47:49 Cub 2 appears
Image reference [RCNX3366]
Timestamp 5:48:58 Cub 3 appears
Date 23 June 2020
Image reference [RCNX5173]
Timestamp 10:07:30 Mum & Cub 1
Image reference [RCNX5178]
Timestamp 10:07:35 Cub 2 appears
Image reference [RCNX5185]
Timestamp 10:08:06 Cub 3 appears