There are less than 150 Malayan tigers left, Malaysian minister tells lower house of Parliament

Malaysian cabinet approved 9 strategic actions in 2021 to stem decline in tiger numbers

A Malayan tiger. iStock photo

There are less than 150 Malayan tigers left in the wild, Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Nature Conservation told the lower house of the country’s Parliament on June 26.

The figure was obtained through the First National Tiger Survey conducted from 2016-2020, Malaysian digital television channel, TVS, quoted Datuk Seri Huang Tiong Sii as saying in a Malay language report.

Tiong Sii also informed that the federal government has implemented nine strategic actions for the conservation of Malayan tigers. These have been approved by the federal cabinet in 2021.

The efforts will go on till 2030 so that the decline in tiger numbers can be stemmed.

Syerleena Abdul Rashid, member of Parliament from Bukit Bendera in Penang state, had sought a reply from the government about its efforts to increase the population of the Malayan tiger.

The government was also asked about the current numbers of the country’s national animal in its forests.

On the brink

The Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni), known as Harimau Malaya (‘Malayan tiger’) in Malay, is found in Peninsular Malaysia.

It is the symbol of Malaysia. The Malayan tiger was also found across the Straits of Johor, on the island of Singapore.

There were an estimated 3,000 tigers in Malaysia in the 1950s. In both, Malaysia and Singapore, habitat loss and poaching greatly diminished the tiger’s numbers.

Down to Earth (DTE) had reported last December about a study which found that the British colonisation of the island of Singapore, which began in 1819, started the destruction of its biodiversity.

Over 200 years later, the island had lost at least 37 per cent of its wild flora and fauna, including the Malayan tiger.

DTE also reported last International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples about efforts to prevent the poaching of Malayan tigers by making use of indigenous knowledge.

The Orang Asli are the oldest inhabitants of the Malay Peninsula, having resided in the region much before the Malays (today Malaysia’s ethnic majority), Chinese, Indians and others arrived.

Orang Asli scouts and trackers are being increasingly used to deter efforts by poaching syndicates in Malaysia, DTE reported.

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