150 animal species rescued by Perhilitan in 2016

Badrul Kamal Zakaria, HAI ROZZAMAN JALAL

TANGKAK: The Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan), between 2016 and last year, tackled 2,994 criminal cases involving wildlife, rescuing 150 different species in the process.

The department also managed to destroy more than 2,000 snares which posed a threat to wildlife, via 630 operations carried out from 2013 to 2017.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister, Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, said the ministry, through Perhilitan, remains committed to preserving wildlife in Peninsular Malaysia and is proactive in ensuring that the country’s biodiversity resources are protected.

This, he said, is accordance with the goals of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who had stressed on the importance of preserving the environment in the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) policies, to ensure that the country’s wildlife do not go extinct by 2050.

“In line with the theme of World Wildlife Day, which is ‘Big Cats: Predator Under Threat’, we are focusing on the threat posed to the big cats species. These species are known around the world for their diversity, from lions, tigers, panthers, pumas, jaguars, leopards and cheetahs.

“However, these beautiful predators have since come under threat due to human activity. As a whole, the big cat population has declined at an alarming rate due to loss of habitat, human-wildlife conflict, illegal poaching and the animal trade.

“Among the key species under threat in Malaysia are the Malayan tiger, which is a national icon. The Malayan tiger population is now estimated to be between 250 to 340 in Peninsular Malaysia, with its main habitats located in Taman Negara and wildlife forest reserves,” he said.

(File pix) Hunting activities is viewed as a major cause of wildlife extinction, as well as the use of snares

Wan Junaidi was speaking at the launch of the World Wildlife Day 2018 celebration, and the launch of the Sungai Kesdang river rehabilitation project in Dataran Ledang.

Also present were Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister, Datuk Hamim Samuri; the ministry’s deputy secretary-general (Environment Management), Datuk Dr Azimuddin Bahari; and Perhilitan director-general, Datuk Abdul Kadir Hashim.

Wan Junaidi said hunting activities is viewed as a major cause of wildlife extinction, as well as the use of snares. This, he said, can lead to the drastic reduction in wildlife population as it can lead to the animal being seriously injured, or even death.

The use of snares, he said, is also cruel and inhumane as it could also harm humans.

“According to statistics from 2015 to 2017, 25 animals of various species died due to snares. Among them are Malayan tigers, leopards, elephants, tapir, mountain goats, as well as deer. This also cuts off the food chain between predator and prey.

“We have declared 2018 as the year of battling the use of snares. This campaign is being undertaken via the Blue Ocean Strategy through joint operations with enforcement agencies such as the police, army and non-governmental organisations.” © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd