Johor Buzz: Tiger, tiger burning bright

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Johor Buzz: Tiger, tiger burning bright
13 December, 2007
Do you know that tigers are going to get a field day at Zoo Negara on Dec 16? It’s because on that day, Mycat is doing something to highlight the plight of these mighty cats of the jungle. Mycat stands for the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers and Dec 16 is the day it is conducting the urban outreach component of its nationwide awareness campaign.

The Race Against Time is a project by Mycat in collaboration with Zoo Negara with the goal of empowering Malaysians to become conservation advocates.

While wildlife enforcement efforts are intensified, there is an urgent need to target consumers and potential consumers of tigers and tiger-based products.

The three specific objectives of the programme are to:

– Raise awareness and concern among the public of the critical status of tigers and urgent need for action.

– Empower the public, especially young people, to take a proactive role towards efforts to reduce the trade in tigers and tigers’ prey.

– Encourage youth to take up careers in wildlife conservation.

The event will be launched by Tiger Ambassadors Ning Baizura, Vince Chong, Yasin Yahaya, Susan Lankester, Rina Omar, Aishah Sinclair, Xandria Ooi, Chelsia Ng, Maple Loo and Corinne Adrienne, who will also launch a number of tools to help these noble beasts.

Number one is the Tiger Crime Hotline which serves to enhance enforcement of wildlife laws and enable the public to report illegal activities to the authorities for timely action. It will be a special 24-hour hotline to report anything perceived as a possible crime against tigers and tigers’ prey.

Secondly, the signature campaign is for the urgent amendment of the Protection of Wildlife Act 1972, the main legislation for wildlife in Malaysia.

The 35-year-old Act needs a major facelift to fight today’s crime against wildlife. The signatures collected at the end of the campaign will be sent to the relevant government body.

Mycat is the alliance of governmental and non-governmental organisations committed to saving the Malayan tiger. Its vision is the survival of wild tiger populations in Peninsular Malaysia.

Current Mycat partners are the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia, the Malaysian Nature Society, Traffic Southeast Asia, the Wildlife Conservation Society and WWF-Malaysia.

Rumour has it that there will be dazzling performances by Tiger Ambassadors Ning Baizura and Vince Chong on that day.

The Mycat Kids for Tigers 2008 calendar will be on sale during the event at RM10 each. The cover was produced using the creative artwork of the schoolchildren of SRJKC Kahang, Johor, during Mycats’ outreach programme there.

All proceeds from the calendar sale, as with all funds raised during the Race Against Time, will go towards Mycat’s campaign.

There will be Art Adventures (scheduled craft classes for kids) and Wild Encounters (scheduled behind-the-scenes zoo tour). For more information, go to

Know this…

– Tigers are endangered.

– Tigers are found only in Asia.

– Worldwide, just a century ago, there were 100,000 tigers.

– Today: There are less than 3,000 tigers.

– Three of nine tiger sub-species have gone extinct.

– Malaysia has one of the last remaining six, the Malayan tiger Panthera tigris jacksoni.

– In Malaysia, it is estimated there are only 500 tigers left.

Threats to tigers include:

– Poaching

Almost every body part of the tiger is sought after for traditional medicines, “magic”, trophies, and exotic meat restaurants. In Malaysia, there are exotic meat restaurants which claim to serve tiger meat.

Depletion of prey species

People hunt important prey species such as deer and wild pig, affecting the amount of food available for tigers.

Habitat loss and fragmentation

For all kinds of development, forests are being cleared or reduced in size to small isolated pockets.

Human-tiger conflict

When people and tigers live too close too each other, conflict arises. Tigers may attack domestic livestock, or sometimes, accidentally attack people. When this happens, tigers have to be removed by the authorities, or are killed in retaliation by villagers.

What is needed from the public:

1. Greater concern and action to ensure the survival of the Malayan tiger.

2. People should take the following measures:

– Don’t patronise restaurants which claim to serve tiger meat.

– Don’t buy medicines which claim to be made from tiger parts.

– Don’t buy/eat deer or wild pig meat that has not been sourced legally.

– Report any suspected tiger crimes to the Tiger Crime Hotline.

– Sign the petition to urge the government to amend the Protection of Wildlife Act to ensure better protection for the tiger.

– Support Mycat and its campaign: Spread the message of “Tiger Parts Belong To Tigers” by buying T-shirts for RM25 each, and wearing them!

For The Tiger

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