Monday, April 19, 2010
Do or Die
Our Malayan tiger population is dwindling and dying due to entirely preventable causes. If the tiger becomes extinct, it would be our fault.
Here are some things we can do to give our tigers a fighting chance of survival in the wild:
1. Value and cherish our national living heritage. If we don’t care whether our tigers continue to roam our forests, or end up in a cooking pot, then half the battle is already lost.
2. Protect tiger habitats. This means maintaining large swathes of natural forest areas and not fragmenting forests into patches here and there.
3. Stop consuming tiger products. Don't eat tiger meat, penis or bones. Don't wear tiger skin or teeth. Kill the demand for tiger products, especially in China.
4. Protect tigers' food supply, i.e. deer and other tiger prey. If we overhunt deer, the tigers will have no food.
5. Improve wildlife protection laws. Plug all loopholes and increase penalties for violations. Give the law more bite.
6. Increase enforcement of wildlife protection laws. Patrol tiger habitats. Monitor border checkpoints, especially to Thailand. Impose maximum fines and jail sentences on offenders.
7. Eradicate corruption among enforcement officers. They should be protecting tigers, not colluding with poachers.
8. Assist communities affected by human-tiger conflicts. Educate villagers on how to live peacefully with tigers. Compensate those who have incurred losses due to tiger attacks on them or their property.
9. Increase the economic value of tigers alive in the wild. Promote eco-tourism and increase the existence value of tigers. The problem is that right now tigers are more valuable dead than alive.
10. Collect a licensing fee from every person and organization that uses the word "tiger" or any picture or icon of a tiger for their commercial gain.
The tiger is our national animal. Our heritage. But today only less than 500 of them remain in the wild. As Malaysians, we need to stand up and protect our heritage. Speak to your children. Speak to your leaders. Every one of us can make a difference.
For further information, please visit MYCAT (www.malayantiger.net), WWF Malaysia (www.wwf.org.my) and the Department of Wildlife & National Parks (www.wildlife.gov.my).
This blog post is made in conjunction with the Tiger Blogfest 2010 initiated by Planet of the Monyets.