While the tiger population is on the brink of extinction, it is always heart-breaking when we learn that tiger parts have been discovered from the illegal wildlife trade.
According to TRAFFIC, The Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network, three Critically Endangered tigers were among dozens of wildlife that were recently seized in Malaysia, just weeks away from Global Tiger Day.
The tiger skins were among the parts recovered and seized from six Vietnamese nationals. The haul also included horns, claws, and teeth of other protected species of bears and serows.
Under Peninsular Malaysia’s Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, the possession of fully protected wildlife, and the use of snares are both illegal and carry a mandatory jail penalty for tiger related offenses, making it likely that the suspects will be facing charges.
The Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (Perhilitan) conducted a raid in the town of Kuala Lipis, Pahang, located near the country’s premier national park, Taman Negara. They are currently investigating to confirm whether the tigers that were recovered were taken from a forested area nearby.
There are currently estimated to be less than 3,200 tigers remaining in the wild, making them classified as “Endangered.” Due to habitat loss and poaching, tigers experience an incredible amount of pressure and are often times forced into populated areas, making them easy targets for poachers.
Every time we discovers breaking news such as this, we can’t help but worry about the future for tigers. It shines a light on the reality of illegal wildlife trafficking and how imperative it is that we push for stricter laws, higher fines, and harsher punishments for those who choose to break them.
There are an estimated 250-340 wild tigers in Malaysia, making this discovery of Tiger parts even more devastating. During a press conference yesterday, Perhilitan Director-General Datuk Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim stated, “from the size of the skins, it seems like this was one family of tigers. We estimate around 3 tigers were killed. We will be checking against camera trap photos of tigers in the area to see if these skins came from animals in the area.”
Kanitha Krishnasamy, Acting Regional Director for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia said in a statement, “we urge the Federal Government to act with urgency and support ongoing efforts to keep Malaysia’s national symbol, as well as the national parks where they roam, free from poachers.”