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Sun 16 Oct 2005

Carcass in fridge - a grim reminder that "The Malayan Tiger is in danger of becoming extinct"

Category : malaysia

"Rangers find tiger parts in fridge."
By Ian Mcintyre. The Star Online, 15 Oct 2005.

KOTA BARU: Forest rangers who raided a house in Kampung Mentua, Pengkalan Kubor found a dead tiger - cut up into four parts - in a refrigerator.

The animal, of the protected Malayan Tiger species, is believed to have been shot dead two days ago, after it was trapped.

A 22-year-old Thai was arrested after rangers from the state national wildlife and national parks department, with help from the police, raided the house in Tumpat district, about 60km from here.

The raid was conducted on Thursday, following a tip-off from villagers.

DESPICABLE ACT: Wildlife rangers with the carcass of the tiger which
was found in a refrigerator on Thursday. - STARpic by SAZUKI EMBONG

It is believed the man had planned to smuggle the tiger carcass out of the country. The head, body and internal organs of the animal had been preserved to show prospective buyers it was indeed a tiger.

Department director Pazil Abdul Patah said the suspect was expected to be charged in court next week. It is an offence to possess tiger meat and an offender could be jailed up to five years or fined up to RM15,000.

Tiger trafficking is a lucrative black-market trade as body parts of the animal could be processed into traditional medicine in countries such as Thailand and China. Each animal is said to fetch between RM20,000 and RM30,000.

Pazil [Abdul Patah] said there were fewer than 100 Malayan Tigers left in Kelantan, mostly in Jeli, Kuala Krai and Gua Musang today. "The Malayan Tiger is in danger of becoming extinct; killing the animal for profit is a cruel act," he told a press conference.

He said they were now investigating whether the suspect had previously hunted tigers here and smuggled them out of the country. In the last five years, he said rangers had foiled at least eight attempts to hunt down tigers in Kelantan.

Meanwhile, Teoh Teik Hoong reports that WWF-Malaysia executive director Datuk Dr Mikaail Kavanagh Abdullah expressed concern over the hunting and slaying of tigers.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg for wildlife trade. These days, it is more likely that a tiger gets eaten by a human than a tiger eating a man."

Dr Kavanagh added that more resources were needed to control the slaughter of wildlife. "Throw the book at everyone involved," he said.

© 1995-2005 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)

"Tiger poaching and trade rile up public and NGOs."
By Florence A. Samy. The Star Online, 16 Oct 2005.

PETALING JAYA: Disgust, outrage and sorrow - the whole gamut of emotions came to the fore as people vented their anger over the butchering of a tiger, which was cut into four and stuffed in a refrigerator.

"I felt like crying when I read the papers this morning," said Valentine Siva, 66. The Government, added the public relations consultant, must impose harsher punishment on those who kill wild animals or "the day may come when our children may not even get to see a frog".

And Malaysian Trade Commissioner to Papua New Guinea Datuk Dr S. H. Foo - who hit the headlines by saving a tiger cub (subsequently named Nicky) from the cooking pot - has called for rewards to be given to encourage reporting of poaching activities. "It is pitiful to see a tiger cut up like that. We must also discourage people from consuming wildlife as many still believe that this can chase spirits away and give them energy."

On Thursday, forest rangers found the carcass of a protected Malayan tiger in Tumpat, Kelantan. A 22-year-old Thai has been arrested and is expected to be charged in connection with the case. ["Rangers find tiger parts in fridge." By Ian Mcintyre. The Star Online, 15 Oct 2005.]

The wave of reactions to the story and picture of the carcass in The Star included warning from environmental groups that the animal could become extinct if nothing was done to stop poaching and the consumption of tiger parts.

Malaysian Nature Society response officer G. Chitra Devi said as long as there was demand, tiger trade would continue to thrive. She said one way to combat poaching was to ensure that the tiger's habitat was protected and there were proper buffer zones around the habitats. "The present penalties are insufficient to deter poachers and should be increased by at least 10-fold," she added.

Chris Shepherd, South-East Asia programme director of wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic, said he was more disappointed than shocked to read that tiger poaching was on the rise.

"It will be quite embarrassing for Malaysia to lose a national symbol as once the tigers disappear, you can't just bring them back.

"If the rate of tiger poaching and loss of habitat continues, it is very likely that the tiger (estimated to be fewer than 500) will go extinct," he said.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia president S.M. Mohd Idris said increased political will, an awareness drive and stricter enforcement were all needed. "The latest incident is just the tip of the iceberg as it could be the work of organised poachers. With high prices and low risks, the trade is spiralling out of control," he said.

© 1995-2005 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)

"Ensuring prompt alert of tiger sightings."
By Ian Mcintyre. The Star Online, 16 Oct 2005.

KOTA BARU: In a move to protect human lives and curb poaching activities, villagers living near tiger habitats in Kelantan will soon be asked to alert wildlife rangers the moment they spot paw prints.

As tigers, notably the Malayan Tiger, are protected, no efforts will be spared in preventing them from being hunted down by poachers.

State Wildlife and National Parks Department director Pazil Abdul Patah said a programme would be launched to generate awareness on the need to notify the authorities promptly about sightings of tigers or paw prints near villages.

“We shall respond immediately if notified about the presence of tiger paw prints around villages as it is our role to ensure the animals return to the jungle instead of roaming in areas where they are the target of poachers,” he said yesterday.

He was commenting on the detention of a 22-year-old Thai in Tumpat on suspicion of hunting down a tiger and trying to smuggle the carcass out of the country.

© 1995-2005 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)

Further reading:

  • "Poaching for Chinese markets spells extinction for wild tigers." By N. Sivasothi. Habitatnews, 07 Jul 2005.
  • "Sumatran tiger being hunted to extinction." By N. Sivasothi. Habitatnews, 17 Mar 2004.
  • "Fake tiger parts found." By Teh Jen Lee. The New Paper, 26 Feb 2004.
  • "Banned tiger bones and penises on sale in Chinatown." The New Paper [Frontpage], 25 Oct 2003 (image)
    • "Want a piece of real tiger?" [Page 1] By Teh Jen Lee. The New Paper, 25 Oct 2003. (image)
    • "Want a piece of real tiger?" [Page 2] By Teh Jen Lee. The New Paper, 25 Oct 2003. (image)

Thanks to Alvin Wong for the original alert via The Biology Refugia.

Posted at 9:32AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news