Malayan tigers at brink of extinction on deforestation

by ASILA JALIL 

DEFORESTATION in the country needs to stop to ensure effective conservation of the Malayan tigers which are facing extinction.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the Malayan tigers may become extinct in the next five to 10 years if the government does not take immediate extraordinary action to conserve the species in the country.

Based on a study titled First National Tiger Survey that was conducted from 2016 until 2020, the estimated population of tigers is less than 200.

“We need to stop deforestation and improve the connectivity of the central forest spine in the country,” he told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

He was responding to a supplementary question from Kemaman MP Che Alias Hamid who asked for suitable measures to implement if the tigers were found outside of their habitat.

Wan Junaidi said the main problem stems from individuals who cut down the forest which leads to a smaller “roaming area” for the tigers.

“The tigers belong in the forest but we cut down the trees and reduce the size of the forest which causes them to leave their habitat. The tigers will then end up in an area where there are people.

“A tiger requires a large roaming area but we have encroached on their home,” he said.

Another factor that contributes to the extinction of the Malayan tigers is the drop in the numbers of Sambar deer in the country, which is the tiger’s main source of food.

Wan Junaidi said the deers may become extinct as well if hunting for the species does not end.

“The moratorium on the deer-hunting ban which will end this month needs to be extended as a conservation effort to save the Malayan tigers,” he added.

He said on June 16, the Cabinet has agreed to implement nine strategic actions to conserve the Malayan tigers within the next decade via three approaches.

Among the government’s actions include reinforcing efforts to stop hunting activities for the tigers and enhancing the conservation of the species via the formation of the National Tiger Conservation Task Force.

Meanwhile, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said many factors are beyond the government’s control that led to the price hike of chicken.

In a response to a question from Tangga Batu MP Rusnah Aluai, the minister said nearly 100% of the chicken feed is imported.

“We need to import the feeds from other countries and they are also subjected to factors that impact the production of these feeds such as economic instability in their countries,” he said.

He added the ministry is also engaging with breeders and farmers to get their input on ways to stabilise the price of poultry in the market.

Among the proposals forwarded by the farmers is a soft loan for the group to assist their operations while reducing the price.

“The government is reviewing the proposal. If it is approved, the soft loan would be effective because if we are able to reduce their operational costs, the reduction may also apply along the supply chain, namely among wholesalers and retailers,” he added.