PERHILITAN-DIRECTOR

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Malaysia – MalayMail

In Ops To Save Tigers, Johor Perhilitan Finds Signs Of Poachers From Abroad.

Content

Thought to number fewer than 200 in the wild, the critically endangered Malayan tiger is being threatened by foreign poachers on home ground.

In a recent Ops Belang, the government’s initiative to protect the dwindling tiger population in its natural habitat, the Johor Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) found traps and abandoned camps in the jungle that point to poachers from Indochinese countries ― judging from the food wrappers, food cans and cigarette wrappers found.

 

“Our initial investigation showed that many of these poachers come from Indochina countries where some came into Malaysia illegally while others have work permits as they are employed in factories here.

Commentary

While Malaysia is finally stepping up to do something about the terrible state of Malayan tigers, it only points fingers to foreign poachers.

No word still about encroachment or burning down precious habitats by logging companies on behalf of the palm oil and paper and pulp industries.

Wildlife crime

The UNODC released a report this month that said the number of wildlife trafficking seizures in Myanmar is considerably lower than those made elsewhere in the Mekong sub-region but the country is an increasingly important transit point for the illicit wildlife trade.

From 2013 to 2017, officials seized 34 shipments of pangolin scales and other parts, totalling more than 1.2 tonnes.

Myanmar also has a modest illegal trade in elephant skin, which is often found for sale in popular markets in special economic zones such as Mine Lar and Tachileik in Shan State.

 

Tiger census

Amid the regular distressing news of tiger deaths due to vehicular accidents and retaliatory killings, the findings of the “Status of Tigers in India-2018” report are heartening. In 2010, the Chinese Year of the Tiger, at the Tiger Summit in Saint Petersburg, India and the other 12 tiger range countries committed to doubling wild tiger numbers by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger. In 2010, the estimated wild tiger population in India was 1706; the latest corresponding figure is 2967, within sight of the target, and well in time. Collectively, the nation needs to celebrate. Since the last estimate of 2266 tigers in 2014, the report shows an impressive 31 per cent increase.

Although the report has its share of unanswered questions as well as grey areas of interpretation, we do not find any obvious discrepancies. Particularly impressive is the scientific rigour and the use of modern techniques of estimation. The methodology is as robust as it can be, using a combination of camera trap images, pug marks, tiger scats as well as habitat mapping. With a survey that covered 3,81,400 km of forested habitats in 20 tiger range states of India involving a foot survey of 5,22,996 km and camera traps deployed at 26,838 locations, one cannot question the robustness of the exercise. Most importantly, a total of 2,461 individual tigers were photo-captured. Thereafter, combining the estimated forest areas, grading them based on prey density and local ecology, the overall tiger population was anywhere between 2,603 to 3,346 with a standard error of approximately 12 per cent.

Kaziranga tiger

An evaluation report on India’s tiger reserves has put the spotlight on an alleged nexus between some officials of Kaziranga National Park and poachers.

Kaziranga, a World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO, is more popular as the world’s best address for the one-horned rhino. It is also been a major tiger reserve covering an area of 1,080 sq km.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier this week released the management effectiveness evaluation reports for tiger reserves across the country, including Kaziranga.

Anti poaching tigers

Two battalions of the police general operations force (GOF) have been directed to assist the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) in tackling poachers, especially those hunting the endangered Malayan tigers, says Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador.

The Inspector-General of Police said one of the battalions, comprising 500 members, would be deployed together with Perhilitan personnel to patrol the forest.

Another battalion, he added, would be put on standby.

Both battalions are from Perak Senoi Praaq, the police unit made up mostly of Orang Asli.

Malayan Tiger Run

The Malayan Tiger Run 2019 today saw more than 4,000 participants roaring off in support of tiger conservation in Malaysia.

The 5km obstacle fun run, jointly organised by WWF-Malaysia and Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), was flagged off by Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar.

WWF-Malaysia executive director Sophia Lim said the overwhelming response reflected the support of Malaysians to protect the Malayan tiger.

“We also launched our Malayan tiger pledge today, and we hope the people will continue to stand behind us and support us.

IGP help tigers

Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador has committed 500 police general operations force (GOF) personnel to assist the Wildlife Department in tackling poachers.

This commitment came after discussions held earlier this month to form a joint action force comprising the police and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) to prevent the poaching and sale of protected wildlife.

“The support that we can offer on this joint action force is in terms of manpower.

“I have met with the home minister (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) and he ordered me to meet with the Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister (Dr Xavier Jayakumar), for further engagement).

“As the IGP, I’m commuting a GOF battalion based in Senoi Praaq, Bidor, Perak. One more battalion will be on standby,” he told reporters after the launch of the Global Tiger Day 2019 here at Le Meridien Hotel.

Striped lion

When the Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP) was rolled out in 2010, it announced the exigency and intent in rather dramatic terms.

The programme, endorsed in the St Petersburg Declaration on Tiger Conservation, was billed as the “last best hope for tigers”. Inaction could lead to extinction of the “world’s most magnificent species”, the programme’s executive summary had warned. Nine years into the ambitious programme, designed over the period between 2010 and 2022, the intent appears to have translated to a rise in the number of big cats in India, one of the 13 Tiger Range Countries (TRCs) in the GTRP.

The TRCs’ shared goal of doubling the number of tigers globally by 2022 could still be viewed as unrealistic but conservationists see in these numbers a possibility to optimise ongoing efforts — in restoring a depleted prey base, reviving habitats, building new resources for site-specific strategies and more crucially, in improving protection of forests with minimal conflict.

Y V Jhala, scientist at the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India, sees in the task for 2022 a “good target for politicians” to work toward and feels that the post-2010 thrust has, despite setbacks in some of the TRCs, had impressive returns. The senior scientist is working on the 2018 tiger census, a project that monitors the status of tigers, co-predators, prey and their habitat in India. The report is scheduled to be released by the end of July.

Sariska tiger ecology

The recent spate of tiger deaths in Sariska Tiger Reserve, the last one being reported on 8 June 2019 (Suri 2019), does not augur well for big cat conservation in the country. It also brings into question the efficacy of the tiger reintroduction programme in the reserve that began in 2008. It is important to explore not only the immediate causes of tiger deaths, but also the long-term factors, given the chronic, larger challenges of wildlife conservation in a developing country like India. 

Poaching and Local Extinction

Sariska, an 866 sq km protected area located in the Aravalli Hills of Rajasthan, became the epicentre of conservation debates in early 2005, soon after tigers were reported to have disappeared from there as a result of poaching (Shahabuddin 2010: 1–4). At the time, government reports suggested that the last few tigers had been poached with the connivance of resident Gujjar villagers in Sariska (Rediff.com 2005; Gupta 2005; Environmental Justice Atlas 2019). Subsequently, a number of arrests were made and the reserve was blocked off to the public and researchers for investigations. Swift governmental action largely focused on poaching, and attempted to solve the issue by stepping up protective measures and amending the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 to enhance punitive regulations (Shahabuddin 2010: 5).

Tiger cubs dead

A haul of frozen tiger carcasses found in a car in Hanoi has led to the arrest of a key wildlife trafficking suspect, Vietnamese state media said on Friday, as the country tries to tackle a well-worn smuggling route from Laos.

Nguyen Huu Hue, who is believed to have smuggled animals in from neighbouring Laos for years, was arrested on Thursday with two other people after seven dead tigers were discovered in their vehicle at a parking lot, according to Cong An Nhan Dan newspaper.

“Hue set up a company… which sells building material as a cover for the illegal trading of tigers and wildlife,” Cong An Nhan Dan, the official mouthpiece of the Ministry of Public Security, reported.
All seven tigers appeared to be cubs, according to photos of the seizure.

Sniffer dogs on tiger day

In the lead up to Global Tiger Day on 29th July 2019, TRAFFIC has announced the winners of Canines for Felines, a special contest for wildlife sniffer dogs (popularly called Super Sniffers) trained under a TRAFFIC and WWF-India programme in India, working to curb poaching and illegal trade of tigers.

Nirman, a wildlife sniffer dog from the Tiger Strike Force in Satna was the overall winner of Canines for Felines while Myna, a wildlife sniffer dog from Tiger Strike Force in Indore was runner up. Both the dog squads belong to the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department.

Since his deployment, Nirman and his handlers Mr Raj Kishore Prajapati and Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, have helped in solving 35 wildlife cases, including six tiger-related cases leading to the arrest of several wildlife criminals along with recovery of poached tiger carcasses and seizure of tiger body parts. To become such an ace sniffer and tracker dog, Nirman along with his handlers underwent a rigorous nine-month training programme in 2016 at the National Training Centre for Dogs (NTCD), BSF Academy, Gwalior. 

Ramesh Pandey

The forest can be a dangerous place. Not only for the unfamiliar visitor but also for the vulnerable animals. In a tiger reserve as dense and vast as Dudhwa in Uttar Pradesh, the risk of illegal wildlife poaching is especially high.

Considering the complications of poaching and the high-risk jobs of forest officials, IFS officer Ramesh Pandey introduced a mobile application in his department to phenomenal results.

Within a year of its introduction, M-STrIPES, which stands for Monitoring System for Tigers-Intensive Protection and Ecological Status, has been instrumental in catching 200 poachers in a patrol field that covers 2,50,000 km!

Madhya Pradesh tiger

David Hanson tigers

Tiger skins

Tiger in bed

Law enforcement tigers

India's tigers

Tiger bone

Tiger clickbait

Poaching penalties

Tourist patrol tigers

Field gear for tigers

CA|TS tiger

Wildlife Act tigers

Maharashtra tiger

Xavier Jayakumar

Poachers OF TIGERS

Malayan tiger population