World Wildlife Day 2018

World Wildlife Day falls on 3rd March every year, and it’s a day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. The theme for World Wildlife Day in 2018 is “Big cats: predators under threat”. Big cats, and their smaller relatives, are among the most widely recognized and admired animals across the globe. However, today these charismatic predators are facing many and varied threats, which are mostly caused by human activities. Overall, their populations are declining at a disturbing rate due to loss of habitat and prey, conflicts with people, poaching and illegal trade.

In Singapore, both the Tiger (Panthera tigris) and Leopard (Panthera pardus) were wiped out, but the Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) still survives. However, it too is threatened with extinction due to habitat loss and fragmentation. The roads that run along and through our forest fragments take their toll. For example, it was feared that the Leopard Cat had become extinct in mainland Singapore, until 2001, when a roadkill was found in Mandai, on the fringes of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. Another roadkill was reported from Jalan Bahar, along the edge of the Western Catchment, in 2007.

Roads also threaten Leopard Cats and other wildlife in Peninsular Malaysia – even big cats are not spared. There are two notable recent incidents: in February 2016, a Malayan Tiger was hit by a car as it crossed the East Coast Expressway Phase 2 in Terengganu, which cuts through a forest reserve. A necropsy revealed that it was a pregnant tigress. And in June 2017, a melanistic Leopard (typically called a ‘black panther’) was found dead along Jalan Sungai Yu-Merapoh in Pahang, not far from an eco-viaduct that serves as a wildlife crossing.

Over the past century we have been losing wild cats, among the planet’s most majestic predators, at an alarming rate. World Wildlife Day 2018 gives us the opportunity to raise awareness about their plight and to galvanize support for the many global and national actions that are underway to save these iconic species.

Photo credits: Leopard Cat roadkill by Charith Pelpola
Tiger and Leopard roadkills from New Straits Times

  • The most deaths involved the Malayan Tapir, a species designated as ‘endangered’, or very likely to be extinct.
  • Last year, a Malayan Tiger was hit by an MPV as it crossed the East Coast Expressway 2 at around 1 am, prompting renewed calls for motorists to slow when using highways at vulnerable areas at night.

Photos: Bernama

Malaysia: From Leopard to Sun Bears: Malaysian motorists are killing our precious fauna
By May Robertson, 28th May 2017;

Nature and animal lovers were left heartbroken on Christmas eve as two threatened animals — a Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus) and a Tapir (Tapirus indicus) — were both killed following collisions with motorists.

The deaths were hardly new, nor were they isolated.

Statistics given by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and the Wildlife Department to Malay Mail recorded at least 39 roadkill deaths involving threatened species in Malaysia between January and September this year.

The most deaths involved the Malayan Tapir, a species designated as “endangered”, or very likely to be extinct.

The report also indicated that there were 221 cases of roadkill in the same period, with the most cases happening in Pahang at 24 incidents, which was eight times more than runners-up Terengganu and Johor.

Just last year, a Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni) — classified “critically endangered” — was hit by an MPV as it crossed the East Coast Expressway 2 at around 1 am, prompting renewed calls for motorists to slow when using highways at vulnerable areas at night.

Things have not changed much. Malay Mail lists down several of this year’s reported cases of motorists mowing down threatened animals:

June 19: Elephant calf in Ipoh, Perak

An Elephant (Elephas maximus) calf was killed after a teacher came across a herd of Elephants at the middle of the East-West Highway around 2.30 am. Following the incident, a hoax went viral online claiming that several Elephants went on a rampage.

June 22: Black Leopard in Kuala Lipis, Pahang

A 60-kg black Leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri) was killed after it was hit by a heavy vehicle along Jalan Sungai Yu-Merapoh, Kuala Lipis. The animal was found just eight km away from the Sungai Yu Eco Viaduct wildlife route.

August 22: Tapirs in Kuantan, Pahang

Two Tapirs were critically injured after they were simultaneously hit while crossing the Kuantan-Gebeng bypass at around 10pm. The two Tapirs succumbed to their head and stomach injuries.

August 23: Elephant in Gerik, Perak

A 12-year-old bull Elephant was killed after a tour bus on the East-West Highway rammed into it at around 5.30am. The animal collapsed and got up to its feet, only later to die at the shoulder of the road some time later.

October 29: Tapir in Jeli, Kelantan

A Tapir was found dead after it was hit by a vehicle on the Jalan Jeli-Dabong near Kampung Renyuk, Jeli. The animal was killed by an injury to its neck.

December 22: Tapir in Kuala Pilah, Negri Sembilan

A car hit a Tapir dead at around 4.30 am along Jalan Seremban-Kuala Pilah.

Source: Malay Mail

A male Panther, locally known as ’harimau kumbang’, was found dead along Jalan Sungai Yu-Merapoh near here yesterday.
Photos: STR / Mohd Rafi Mamat & Ahmad Nazree Sahbudin Facebook

Malaysia: Fatal accident along Jalan Sungai Yu-Merapoh claims life of endangered Panther
23rd June 2017;

A male Panther (Panthera pardus), locally known as ’harimau kumbang’, was found dead along Jalan Sungai Yu-Merapoh near here yesterday.

State National Parks and Wildlife Department (Perhilitan) director Ahmad Azhar Mohammed said the carcass of the protected animal was recovered some eight kilometers from the Sungai Yu eco-viaduct (wildlife crossing) about 10am on Thursday.

He said checks revealed the adult-sized Panther might have been hit by a heavy vehicle between midnight and early yesterday before some villagers stumbled upon the carcass.

“The animal sustained injuries on the head and this is the first incident reported along the stretch near Sungai Yu in Lipis,” he said.

Images of the Panther have gone viral on social media with many expressing concern for the safety of the endangered species especially when they roam close to the main roads at night and early morning.

On June 19, a two-year-old Elephant (Elephas maximus) was found dead by the roadside of the Gerik-Jeli Highway in Gerik, Perak after a motorist crashed into the calf about 2.30am.

Source: New Straits Times