SUNGKAI: Stiffer fines for poachers and six conducive plans prove the government’s seriousness in ensuring that the Malayan Tiger will not become extinct in this country, said Energy and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah.

He said it is hoped the joint plan, involving the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry, other agencies and industry players, would be able to handle the Malayan Tiger’s extinction crisis and raise the reputation and image of the oil palm industry from the sustainability aspect.

“We are focused and serious about ensuring that the tiger doesn’t go extinct. This is a shared responsibility and duty in curbing poaching.

“Therefore, we are amending the Wildlife Conservation Act (716) 2010 so that we can be more responsive to current developments and wildlife conservation efforts where we will increase penalties and fines for offenders.

“We know that there are irresponsible parties who traffic wildlife online. So the amendment will strengthen enforcement in combating the illegal activities,” he said.

He said this after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) regarding the issue at the National Wildlife Rescue Centre (NWRC) together with Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali today.

The MoU involved the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN), represented by its director-general, Kadir Abu Hashim, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), represented by its chief executive officer Dr Wan Zawawi Wan Ismail and Malaysian Palm Oil Green Conversation Foundation represented by a member of its board of trustees, Mohd Nor Hamzah.

Shamsul Anuar said that the government’s efforts required the involvement of all parties to come together to create awareness about the poaching of endangered species such as the Malayan Tiger.

Elaborating on the long-term and short-term conservation plans for Malayan Tiger, Shamsul Anuar said they include:

A Malayan Tiger breeding programme

A programme supporting the costs of five Malayan Tiger cubs

Transferring Malayan Tigers to the National Tiger Conservation Centre in Lanchang, Pahang

The rewilding of Malayan Tigers

Releasing Malayan Tigers into the wild

Post-release monitoring of Malayan Tigers

The MoU also allocated RM3 million in a period of five years for the conservation of Malayan Tigers based on MPOC and MPOGCF initiatives, and represents the strong commitment shown by the palm oil industry to save the Malayan Tiger.

Both ministries said the MoU would strengthen ex-situ conservation efforts through research, communication and educational programmes and public awareness.

Both ministers also visited the NWRC after the signing of the MoU to better understand wildlife conservation efforts there.

The NWRC was established as a centre to rescue wildlife in accordance to the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 [Act 686].

In addition, the centre acts as a sanctuary for wildlife injured as a result of human-wildlife conflict in the country. — Bernama