Malaysia plans sanctuary for captive tigers
(AFP) – 18 hours ago
KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia plans to set up a large enclosed natural
habitat for captive tigers, a senior wildlife official said Friday, an
ambitious proposal that has raised concerns among conservationists.
The authorities say the reserve will provide a good home for tigers
rescued from poor living conditions, but campaigners argue the focus
should be on protecting the animals in the wild.
"It is still at the preliminary stage. It will be an enclosed area big
enough for the big cats to roam," a wildlife and national parks
department official told AFP on condition of anonymity. "Tigers in
the park will be fed and it will be a tourist attraction."
A final decision on the programme, which will be located in peninsular
Malaysia, will be made by the end of the year, the official said. The
plan was prompted by the discovery of 27 captive tigers living in poor
conditions in a zoo in southern Malacca state, the official said. He
played down fears of poachers raiding the tiger park, saying it would
be "enclosed and guarded."
But William Schaedla, regional director of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia,
which monitors trade in wildlife, urged the authorities to concentrate
on battling poaching rather than breeding tigers. "TRAFFIC Southeast
Asia agrees that something must be done to care for the tigers that
are casualties of poaching and conflict. However, the facilities
undertaking these efforts should avoid becoming factories for more
captive tigers," he said. "Captive tigers would not have the ability
to feed themselves or a fear of humans, and so cannot be returned to
the wild. Also, this will not prevent tiger extinction in the wild,"
Schaedla said the priority should be to protect tigers in the wild
where they still face a serious threat.
Last year WWF-Malaysia said tribesmen in Malaysia were being paid by
syndicates to trap wildlife, including critically endangered tigers,
to meet demand from China. Conservationists have called for a war on
poachers who are undermining Malaysia's ambitious goal to double its
population of wild tigers to 1,000. In the 1950s, there were as many
as 3,000 tigers in Malaysia but their numbers fell as the country
opened up more land for agriculture.
Carole's Note: Many of these places are suspected of breeding tigers
for the black market trade in their parts.
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
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