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

Malaysia: Caged fish breeders suffer major losses due to flood

13th January 2018;

The flood that hit the district early this month had not only caused damage to public and private properties, but also caused major losses to caged fish breeders here as they were left with thousands of dead fish.

Most of the breeders attributed the death of their fish to several reasons, including the strong river current on Jan 1 and 2 when the water level of Sungai Pahang began to rise.

Khaidir Ahmad, 55, from Kampung Tebing Tinggi, Lebak here, when contacted today said he suffered losses of more than RM33,000 after over 5,000 patin (Iridescent Shark Catfish) (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) and Tilapia (Oreochromis spp.), as well as 300 kerai (Lemon-fin Barb) (Hypsibarbus wetmorei) fish, in his cages died during the flood.

He said the strong river current had caused the fish to suffer wounds as they were cornered and squeezed to the cage.

“The fish were also believed to have died due to the high turbidity level of the river which caused the fish gills to be covered with mud and deprived them of oxygen,” he said, adding that bacterial infection in the eyes and scales of the fish due to the deterioration in the water quality of Sungai Pahang was also believed to be the cause of death of the fish.

Meanwhile, Temerloh Fisheries Officer Shahidan Roslan said the Fisheries Department had taken samples from the live fish in order to determine the cause of death of thousands of caged fish of several breeders in the district.

He said the department had also informed the state Fisheries Department Bio-security Division, immediately after receiving a report on the incident.

Shahidan said initial inspection found that the death of patin and Tilapia fish was probably due to the strong river water pressure during the recent flood.

“The investigation revealed that most of the dead fish were found in the front area of the cage which might have received the high impact of the strong current,” he said.

Source: The Sun Daily

It is learned that the driver escaped unhurt but the vehicle was severely damaged.
Photos: STR / Mohd Rafi Mamat, additional photos by Putera Haikal, on Di tanahku terjadinya bencana (#DTTB ) Facebook Group

Malaysia: 2 Tapirs die after being run over by car
By TN Alagesh, 26th August 2017;

Three days after an Elephant died when it was hit by a tour bus in Perak, a pair of Tapir suffered similar fate along the Gebeng bypass road near Kuantan on Friday.

The endangered Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus) were attempting to cross the dual-carriageway not far from the Jabor toll plaza about 10.30pm when a car crashed into the animals.

The driver escaped unhurt but the impact of the crash resulted the front part of the vehicle to be severely dented.

Passing motorists informed the State Wildlife and National Parks department(Perhilitan) about the carcasses about 11.30pm before staff were deployed to the scene.

The Tapirs, a male and a female aged between eight and 10 years, suffered severe injuries.

State Perhilitan director Ahmad Azhar Mohammed said the two Tapir weighing between 250kg and 280kg were crossing the road to look for food when the incident occurred.

He said to date, a total of five deaths caused by collision with vehicles were recorded in Pahang in the first eight months of this year.

“There has been similar incidents in the past including along the nearby Kuantan Port bypass road where the animals usually occupies the jungle and go out during the night to look for food,” he said, adding Perhilitan will put up more signboards for Tapir crossings to remind motorist to be careful when they drive along certain roads.

Meanwhile, a Perhilitan staff described the incident as devastating as two Tapir were killed simultaneously and such cases were rare.

“Land clearing activities has ruined their habitat and the increasing number of activities near Gebeng here has forced the animals to travel further to find for food. A quick solution has to be implemented or else similar tragic road deaths could become more frequent.

"In the past there were cases when the Tapir dies in an accident, certain body parts including its tail, ears and tongue were removed by irresponsible individuals. In this case, the passing motorist were quick to alert Perhilitan,” he said.

It is estimated that only between 1,100 and 1,500 Tapirs remain in the wild in Peninsular Malaysia, and concentrated in protected areas, such as Taman Negara and wildlife reserves. They are classified as a totally protected species under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.

On Wednesday, a 10-year-old bull Elephant (Elephas maximus) was killed after it was hit by a tour bus along the Grik-Jeli Highway in Perak at about 5.30am. The animal collapsed and then got up and walked to the grass on the road shoulder before it died.

Source: New Straits Times

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

Road kill. Highland of Pahang.

Speckle-bellied Keelback (Rhabdophis chrysargos)

Source: Kurt Orion G Facebook

Graphic images of a dead Malayan Tiger being dismembered, which had been making its round on social media since yesterday, have left netizens reeling in shock and disgust. Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) Enforcement Acting Director, Rozidan Md Yasin told NST Online that initial information gathered suggests that the incident took place in Pahang.

Malaysia: Viral images of butchered Tiger may have come from Pahang
By James Sivalingam, 15th October 2016;

Graphic images of a dead Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni) being dismembered, which had been making its round on social media since yesterday, have left netizens reeling in shock and disgust.

The images show several men posing for pictures with the Tiger’s carcass. One of the images also shows the tiger’s belly being slit open.

While the origin of the pictures remain unconfirmed, the authorities believe that the poaching activity may indeed have taken place in Malaysia.

Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) Enforcement Acting Director, Rozidan Md Yasin told NST Online that initial information gathered suggests that the incident took place in Pahang.

“Investigations are ongoing and at this stage, it is difficult to confirm the location and when it took place,” he said.

Malaysian Nature Society President Henry Goh, yesterday told a local portal that the Tiger was killed with a snare trap, commonly used by the Orang Asli community.

Wildlife poachers, he said, have begun enlisting the Orang Asli community to hunt Malaysian wildlife for them.

“The poachers will give a bit of money to the Orang Asli to kill the animals. In return, they make thousands in US dollars by selling the skins and other organs on the underground international market,” he was quoted as saying.

The existence of this practice was confirmed by Rozidan.

“Yes, it does happen. The rural communities, especially the Orang Asli, are often ‘used’ by unscrupulous parties for their own interest,” he said.

In the wake of this incident, Rozidan assured the public that Perhilitan is stepping up its surveillance in relevant areas.

He urged members of public who may have more information to come forward to assist investigations.

Malayan Tigers are classified as ‘critically endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It is estimated that there are less than 350 in existence.

The species is protected under the Protection of Wildlife Act 2010, which carries a maximum five-year jail term and a RM500,000 fine on offenders.

Meanwhile, Kanitha Krishnasamy of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia (TRAFFIC), an international wildlife trade monitoring network, said poaching and illegal trade pose an urgent threat that does maximum damage in a short time.

The Tiger population, she said, has dwindled in many parts of their former habitat due to illegal hunting, mainly for their skin, bones and other body parts.

“It’s a worrying concern because we don’t have as many Tigers as we thought we had.

"Malayan Tigers are critically endangered, which means we’re one step away from it being extinct in the wild,” warned Kanitha.

Source: New Straits Times

Malaysia: Orang Asli kids kill Tiger
Malaysian Nature Society President Henry Goh said the incident took place last week in Pahang
13th October 2016;

Pictures of two Orang Asli children killing a Tiger have gone viral on social media.

Following that, a wildlife watchdog is appealing to Malaysians to come forward to identify the people behind the killing.

Malaysian Nature Society President Henry Goh said the incident took place last week in Pahang.

“The Tiger was killed with a snare, usually used by the Orang Asli. They will wait for the Tiger to walk into the sharp snare that kills the animal,” he told FMT.

Goh posted the pictures of the incident on his Facebook page today, urging people with knowledge on the incident to contact the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) at 1 300 801 010 or call MNS at 019 3564194.

He said MNS was saddened by the incident as it came at a time when there were only about 250 to 300 Tigers left in Malaysia.

The figures were obtained through footprints in the thick rainforest in Belum Forest in Pahang and Endau Rompin Rainforest in Johor.

He said poachers continue to use Orang Asli to kill wildlife in Malaysia.

“The poachers will give a bit of money to Orang Asli to kill the animals.

"In return, they make thousands in US dollars by selling the skins and other organs on the underground international market.”

MNS, he said, is hoping to preserve Tigers, which are a national symbol.

“We should protect it,” he said.

Between 2010 and 2013, more than 2,241 poachers’ traps and 1,728 illegal camp sites were discovered by NGOs conducting research in Peninsular Malaysia’s forests.

The Protection of Wildlife Act 1972 imposes a maximum penalty of a five-year jail term and a RM15,000 fine on offenders.

Source: Free Malaysia Today