Published by The Star
THE Malayan tiger population is rapidly shrinking, with fewer than 150 left in the wild.
The Vinod Sekhar Foundation and Persatuan Pelindung Harimau Malaysia (Rimau) have thus come together to highlight the endangered Malayan tiger in conjunction with World Wildlife Day on March 3.
Rimau’s goal is to create awareness of the urgency to protect tigers from being poached.
As we celebrate the Year of the Tiger, Petra chairman and chief executive Datuk Vinod Sekhar said it was the right time to focus and take action to save the species.
“The tiger is the icon of Malaysia.
“We have it on our national emblems. The tiger symbolises courage and strength.
“If we don’t do something about the tigers now, they will go extinct sooner than we realise. It is time to wake up to reality. We need to make a move!
“I hope that with our support and motivation to save the tigers, it will let these majestic beings multiply and roar again,” said Vinod, who is the foundation’s founder.
He also hoped that corporations could lend a hand by supporting the cause as they too had a key role to play.
Meanwhile, Rimau president Lara Ariffin said the loss of habitat had largely contributed to the shrinking population of the Malayan tiger.
“The biggest problem of all is poaching. We believe the best way to save the tigers is to stop all poachers and protect their habitats,” she said.
She added that Rimau had come together with Perak State Parks Corporation to form the Menraq Patrol Unit, which is made up entirely of indigenous Jahai people.
The purpose of the unit is to patrol Royal Belum State Park in Temengor, Perak.
The team also searches and disposes of snares that threaten the Malayan tiger.
The Vinod Sekhar Foundation is one of Rimau’s first major funders, with a donation of RM300,000 that has allowed the organisation to begin its efforts for the community patrolling unit.
The foundation’s funds contribute towards Menraq’s training, equipment and wages for the Orang Asli community.
“Menraq has now expanded to 40 patrollers, 30 in Royal Belum and 10 in Amanjaya Forest Reserve, Hulu Perak.
“We are looking for more funding to ensure a maximum chance for survival of the Malayan tiger,” said Lara.
Rimau vice-president David Hashim said it would take time to increase the number of tigers.
“But we believe that it is possible through the efforts of NGOs and the government, along with support from the public.”