As Malaysians, we know that the Malayan Tigers are a part of our lives. Apart from the fact that the Malayan Tigers can only be found in the Malaysian Peninsula, this tiger is also a part of our National Emblem, and our national football team is also called “Harimau Malaya”. The tigers are our symbol of national spirit, and without them, we risk losing a part of our identity.
Despite knowing about how important the Malayan Tigers mean to us, how many Malaysians actually care about the dwindling number of tigers still roaming in our forests?
Back in the 1950s, there used to be around 3000 tigers in our rainforest, yet according to Kae Kawanishi, General Manager of the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT), the number of surviving tigers has drastically declined to less than 300 tigers currently. Our beloved tiger has now become one of the critically endangered species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The Malayan Tigers are decreasing in number thanks to illegal poachers and loss of their natural habitats. Although tiger hunting is deemed as illegal, it is still continued irresponsibly due to the high demand for them from neighbouring countries. A single tiger can land a person from as low as RM20,000 to as high as RM1 million when traded to the neighbouring country.
They are hunted for multiple selfish reasons. The tigers’ meat are claimed to be highly nutritious. Not only served as food, they are also used in traditional medicine. Their beautiful coat will also be stripped off their body in order to become interior decorations. It is no surprise that the Malayan Tigers receive high demands especially in the black market.
Actions need to be taken in order to save our beloved tigers. The government may have implemented ways and campaigns to save the Malayan Tigers, but we can also play a part in saving them.
One of the ways to help in this cause is by supporting MYCAT’s programmes. CAT stands for Citizen Action for Tigers. MYCAT organises a programme named CAT Walk at least once every month and are open to public.
The programme is intended to deter poaching and enhance the protection in the Sungai Yu Tiger Corridor which is a narrow stretch of forest that borders Taman Negara National Park corridor. By volunteering, you will patrol the poaching hotspot areas with an experienced and certified MYCAT leader.
If you cannot help physically by volunteering, you can always opt for donation. Donate or shop for a cause through MYCAT, and you are already contributing to saving the Malayan Tigers.
You can also symbolically adopt a tiger through WWF-Malaysia and you can choose whether to donate monthly or donate one-time.
Through these donations, it will enable WWF-Malaysia to secure funds for tiger monitoring and anti-poaching efforts. They will also be able to monitor the change of the surrounding tiger habitats. Lastly, donations will be used to increase awareness on the importance of tiger conservation.
No matter how small our efforts may seem, they will all contribute to saving the Malayan Tigers.
- Aishah Humaira’ Binti Shamsul Bahrain, student of Faculty of Film, Theater and Animation.
- Dr. Mohd Syuhaidi Abu Bakar, lecturer of Faculty of Film, Theater and Animation.