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WWF-Malaysia Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Sophia Lim said this was a welcome sight, especially in the lead up to Global Tiger Day celebrations this month.
“With the tiger population currently numbering fewer than 150 in Peninsular Malaysia, this latest development renews hope that this critically endangered species can be saved from the brink of extinction.
“It is all the more crucial that we continue our patrols, to protect these cubs and their mother from the existing threats of poaching and loss of habitat,” Lim added.
On average, tigers give birth to two to four cubs every two years. If all the cubs in one litter die, a second litter may be produced within five months - given that the tiger finds a healthy mate and if conditions are conducive for breeding.
Perak State Parks Corporation (PSPC) director Shah Redza Hussein said the presence of these cubs shows that with suitable habitat and availability of prey as food for survival, our tigers can breed and thrive in the wild.
“We need sustained and stronger anti-poaching efforts to ensure that these cubs are safe from poachers and can survive into adulthood,” he said.
With support from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks of Peninsular Malaysia (Perhilitan), WWF-Malaysia’s anti-poaching teams and PSPC’s Orang Asli Menraq Patrol Unit regularly patrol the Royal Belum State Park, which covers an area spanning 117,500 hectares.
“It's a collaborative effort. This sighting is proof that with a viable population - though small - tigers can still repopulate if their habitat, food and safety are ensured,” he explained.
Regular patrolling efforts have reduced poaching incidents by almost 98%. Stricter laws for wildlife crimes are also expected to take effect this month with the Wildlife Conservation Act 2020 (Act 716) bringing the maximum fine to RM1 million from RM500,000 for offenders.
Two other key milestones in stamping out poaching incidents were the establishment of the National Tiger Task Force headed by the Prime Minister, and the setting up of a Wildlife Crime Bureau under the Royal Malaysia Police.
On 30 and 31 July this year, WWF-Malaysia in partnership with Maybank, will mark Global Tiger Day with the “Roar For Life Eco-Festival” to be held at Pavilion Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur. More information will be shared on wwf.org.my soon.
Camera-trap image (c) WWF-Malaysia