October 5, 2009

Endangered Malaysian Tiger Saved From Poachers

Officials said on Monday that Malaysian wildlife authorities rescued a five-year old Malayan tiger, badly injured in a snare set up by poachers near the country's jungle border with Thailand, AFP reported.

Northern Perak state wildlife and National Parks director Sabrina Shariff told AFP they received a tip-off on Saturday and a joint patrol with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature-Malaysia's wildlife protection unit found the injured animal.

She said the tiger's paw was very badly damaged as the snare had cut it to the bone, so they administered first aid and transferred the animal to the Malacca Zoo for further treatment on Sunday.

"We face a major problem from Thai and Malaysian poachers who set up numerous snares in the Belum-Temengor forest reserve area between the two countries, with such traps normally located close to roads as the animals are attracted by sound and food smells," Shariff said.

Authorities were also concerned that poachers were targeting other wildlife in the area including Bucking deers, whose footprints were found around other snares near the tiger.

Shariff said they normally find the usually empty snares and remove them.

"This is the first time we have found one with an animal still intact," she added.

WWF-Malaysia chief Dionysius Sharma said the incident clearly demonstrates the need for a stronger enforcement presence in the Belum-Temengor area.

He wrote in a statement: "If this isn't enough of a clarion call for the government to afford more resources to form an anti-poaching Task Force, I don't know what is."

There are only 500 wild tigers in peninsular Malaysia, a sharp decline from an estimated 3,000 in the 1950s, according to wildlife biologist Dr. Kae Kawanishi.

Malaysia said in July it was committed to an ambitious plan to double the tiger population to 1,000 by 2020. The government has even sought the help of the military to battle poaching.

Image Courtesy Wikipedia