WWF: Saving tigers should be the concern of all

PETALING JAYA: Animal trafficking is not an area best left to the experts but should be the concern of every member of the public, said Traffic Southeast Asia and Worldwide Fund (WWF) Malaysia in a joint statement.

Commending a public tip-off that resulted in the rescue of a tiger cub in Pahang recently, Traffic Southeast Asia and WWF encouraged the public to report any suspicious incidents involving the country's wildlife.

“All too often, trafficked tigers are seized only after they have been killed and butchered,” they said in their statement.

“Timely information from the public makes a world of difference and help enforcement agencies ensure these endangered animals stay alive.

"Without public information, who knows what might have become of this cub that was rescued two weeks ago.”

According to a Bernama report, officers from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) Pahang, acting on a tip, raided a shop in Pekan on Oct 15 and rescued the cub.

The cub has since been sent to the Melaka Zoo.

Two people who stood to make RM30,000 from the sale of the cub were arrested. They face a maximum fine of RM6,000 or jailed for not more than six years under Section 65 of the Protection of Wild Life Act 1972.

Just 500 tigers left in Malaysia

Traffic Southeast Asia and WWF urged the authorities to find out about the cub's origins, and also determine if the two arrested were illegal poachers.

They also said that enforcement of the new Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (Act 716) which comes into effect soon would deter hunters from using Malaysia as a poaching destination.

“Without deterrent sentences, poaching will continue and Malaysia will lose its remaining tigers to brazen thievery,” the statement read.

Once home to hundreds of thousands of tigers, Malaysia only has about 500 left.

WWF-Malaysia started a tiger-related project earlier this year. Known simply as TX2 (tiger times two), the project intends to double Malaysia's tiger population by 2022.

Members of the public who wish to report suspicious situations involving wildlife can call the Wildlife Crime Hotline managed by the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT) at 019 3564194.

The Department of Wildlife and National Parks can also be contacted at 03 88861585 or 03 90866800.


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