Poaching is a very real threat to the Tiger’s survival in Malaysia. These photos surfaced recently, and Perhilitan is investigating the incident. If you have any information, please come forward. Report anonymously to the Wildlife Crime Hotline 019 356 4194 or directly to Jabatan Perhilitan Semenanjung Malaysia through 1800 88 5151. And add your voice to the call for #NoMoreDeadTigers at bit.do/mycatpetition

Source: Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT) Facebook

Indonesia: Sumatran Tiger rescued from Wild Boar snare in West Sumatra

27th May 2016;

A Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae), which was trapped in a Wild Boar (Sus scrofa vittatus) snare in a hilly forest of Nagari Mandeh Village, West Sumatra, was rescued and evacuated by the local Natural Resource Conservation Agencys (BKSDAs) rescue team.

The team arrived in the area at 11:30 a.m. local time and managed to rescue the Tiger, which had been trapped since Tuesday (May 24), after making the big cat unconscious by shooting a tranquilizer dart, Head of Area III Conservation of West Sumatra BKSDA Surajiya stated here on Friday.

The Tiger would be brought to the Wildlife Cultural Kinantan Park in Bukittinggi District for rehabilitation.

“After undergoing rehabilitation, we will observe the Tiger’s recovery. If possible, we would return the Tiger to its habitat,” Surajiya affirmed.

Meanwhile, Chief of the Nagari Mandeh Village of Koto XI Tarusan Sub-district Jasril Rajo Basah expected the Tiger to be returned to its habitat near the village since the wild cat had not disturbed the day-to-day life of the villagers.

In fact, the village chief and local people acknowledged that the Tiger had several times helped the local people who had lost their way in the forest.

Moreover, the Tiger had become a natural predator of Wild Boars, which ravaged the peoples agricultural areas.

“We live side by side with the Tiger, therefore we hope the big cat will be returned here soon,” Basah added.

Source: Antara

Indonesia: Sumatran Tiger rescued from Wild Boar snare in West Sumatra

Indonesia: Death of rare Sumatran Tiger draws ire, scorn

By Apriadi Gunawan, 11th March 2016;

Enviromental activists have condemned the killing and butchering of a Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) by residents of Silantom Tonga village in North Tapanuli regency, North Sumatra.

Activists from the Sumatra Rainforest Institute, Scorpion, the Indonesian Species Conservation Program and the Orangutan Information Center on Thursday flocked to the North Sumatra Police headquarters in Medan to urge the force to thoroughly investigate the mistreatment of the Tiger.

A spokesperson for the groups, Panut Hadisiswoyo, said they had called on the police to take tough action against the police officer reported to have shot the Tiger dead after it wandered into Silantom Tonga.

“This was a barbaric act and a violation of law,” Panut said after meeting officers from the North Sumatra Police’s special crime directorate.

When Tigers wandered into villages, he went on, they should not be killed, but shooed away back into the jungle.

“Ironically, it was a police officer — who should be aware that the Sumatran Tiger is a protected animal — who shot the Tiger,” he said.

Directorate head Adj. Sr. Comr. Robin Simatupang said the force would begin investigation upon reception of complete reports from the North Tapanuli Police.

The 1.5-meter female Tiger weighing 80 kilograms was shot dead by an officer from the Pangaribuan Police on Monday, at the request of local people who had alerted the police after the beast wandered into the village.

The villagers then dismembered and butchered the carcass, distributing the meat to local households to be eaten.

Such practices are locally referred to as binda, a tradition whereby any wild animals encountered are slaughtered and eaten.

Anthropologist and noted Batak cultural figure Bungaran Simanjuntak of Medan State University insisted that eating wild animals, especially protected ones, was not a Batak tradition.

If certain Batak communities ate Tiger meat, he said, it might mean they were related to a certain cult or local tradition.

“For a long time now, we Bataks have shunned eating the meat of Sumatran Tigers,” Bungaran said.

Animals traditionally eaten by the Batak people as part of certain traditions included Buffalo, Swine, Cows and Goats, he said.

Bungaran added that although the killing of the Tiger was intolerable, he did not want to rush to blame the denizens of Silantom Tonga.

“It’s possible that they didn’t realize that the Sumatran Tiger was a protected species,” he suggested.

To prevent similar incidents from reoccurring, he urged authorities to inform villagers of which species were endangered and should not be eaten.

North Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) protection section head Joko Iswanto said the agency would summon 50 residents of Silantom Tonga for questioning.

Questioning, Joko said, would be carried out in stages, starting from village leaders to local community figures. “We will announce later whether they are guilty or not,” he said.

“We have noted 50 names allegedly involved in the distribution of the Tiger meat,” he added.

BKSDA data show that the population of Sumatran Tigers in North Sumatra is sharply decreasing as a result of conflict with humans.

In 2014 a Sumatran Tiger was speared to death by people in Toba Samosir regency, while last year, a 5-year-old Tiger almost died after having its leg amputated. The leg was decaying after being caught in a trap set by residents in Batu Madinding subdistrict, Batang Natal district, Mandailing Natal regency.

The Wildlife Conservation Society Indonesia Program (WCSIP) has recorded a decrease in the population of Sumatran Tigers from 150 in the 1990s to 100 as of today; the majority live in and around Mount Leuser National Park, which straddles the border between North Sumatra and Aceh.

Source: Jakarta Post

Indonesia: Death of rare Sumatran Tiger draws ire, scorn

A photo session a moment before cutting the Tiger into pieces. Parts of the Tiger body were distributed among the local community for cooking/meal.
Photo: Emvawari Candra Sirait/Mongabay

Indonesia: A Critically Endangered Sumatran Tiger snared, killed, and eaten, Indonesian NGO Group insists on full investigation
10th March 2016;

A group of Indonesian NGOs on Thursday (10th of March 2016) visited Sumatran Provincial Police in Medan to insist a full investigation of a case of Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) which was snared, killed, and eaten in North Tapanuli, North Sumatra province of Indonesia.

The NGO group comprises Scorpion Foundation, Sumatra Rainforest Institute (SRI), Indonesian Species Conservation Programme (ISCP), and Yayasan Orangutan Sumatra Lestari (YOSL)-OIC. Representatives from these NGO’s met with the Head of Special Crimes Unit at the North Sumatra Provincial Police, Superintendent Robin Simanjuntak.

“We from the environmental NGOs come here to insist full investigation of the Sumatran Tiger which was snared, killed, and eaten in North Tapanuli. Sumatran Tiger is a protected species in the Indonesian law and regulation, and listed as a critically endangered species by the World Conservation Union (IUCN),” Gunung Gea, Director of Scorpion Foundation, told Superintendent Robin Simanjuntak in the meeting. Gunung Gea was appointed by the NGO group members as the speaker of the group in the mission to the North Sumatra Provincial Police.

It is reported by the media that the Tiger was snared by illegal hunters in Silantom village, sub-district Pangaribuan, North Tapanuli Regency in Sumatra. The Tiger was then shot dead by a police officer (Kapolsek Pangaribuan) Mr. VS. The body of the Tiger was cut into pieces and distributed among the local community for cooking/meal.

Superintendent Robin Simanjuntak told the NGOs that he could not make any decision yet on that case before receiving a report from the head of District Police in North Tapanuli Regency. A decision will be taken by the provincial Special Crime Unit after receiving complete information from the head of district police in North Tapanuli.

Source: Scorpion Foundation

Photo: Mongabay-Indonesia

Indonesia: Tiger shot dead, chopped up, eaten

By Apriadi Gunawan, 10th March 2016;

A female Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) has been shot dead after wandering into a village in North Tapanuli regency, North Sumatra, according to the North Sumatra Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA).

The agency’s protection, preservation and mapping section head, Joko Iswanto, told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday that residents of Silantom Tong village had had the beast shot, then butchered it.

“Only the head remains; we’re keeping it safe at the BKSDA office in Medan,” Joko said.

His office, he added, had not yet ascertained the age of the ill-fated animal, but said that going by the size of its head, it was an adult.

According to reports compiled by Joko, the Tiger was caught in a trap set by villagers.

It managed to free itself, but instead of fleeing back into the jungle, the Tiger instead made its way into the village.

The Tiger reportedly roamed the streets of the village for some time, unnerving residents, who reported the sighting to the police.

R. Simatupang, a resident of Silantom Tong, said that he and his fellow villagers had asked the police to shoot the Tiger; once the Tiger was dead, the villagers dismembered and diced the carcass, distributing the meat to the settlement’s households to be eaten.

Locals refer to such practices as binda.

Binda is a traditional way to treat wild animals — we cut them into pieces and distribute the meat,” Simatupang said.

He would not be surprised, he added, to see further Tigers enter the village, which is located on the edge of the jungle.

“We hope the [local] forestry agency and security officers will determine the whereabouts of Tigers in the forest near Silantom and stop them from disturbing people,” Simatupang said.

Joko, meanwhile, said that the tiger was a victim of growing conflict between humankind and other species, as its habitat had been destroyed by illegal logging.

“Tigers are forced to leave their natural habitats because the forest and surroundings are being damaged by illegal logging,” Joko said.

He added that the conflict between Tigers and humans had claimed numerous lives on both sides.

In 2014, a Sumatran Tiger was speared to death by people in Toba Samosir regency.

Last year, a 5-year-old Tiger almost died after one of its legs was amputated. The leg was decaying after being caught in a trap set by residents of Batu Madinding subdistrict in Mandailing Natal regency.

In terms of human fatalities, Joko said, at least eight people living in the environs of Batang Gadis National Park (TNBG) in North Sumatra had reportedly been killed in Tiger attacks between 2008 and 2014.

The population of Sumatran Tigers in the park is thought to stand at between 10 and 19.

The Switzerland-based International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the Sumatran Tiger as a critically endangered species since 1996.

The organization has reported that the species is struggling with habitat loss amid the expansion of oil palm and acacia plantations, as well as illegal trading, primarily for the domestic market.

Poachers frequently hunt the Tigers, which are native to the vast and diverse habitats of Sumatra, as their body parts fetch high prices for use in traditional medicines in Asia.

Data from the BKSDA show that the population of Sumatran Tigers in the wild currently stands at around 400 across the entirety of the island of Sumatra.

Source: Jakarta Post

Malaysia: Of pregnant tigers and sad whales

By Quek Yew Aun, 23rd February 2016;

February 2016 has been a grim month so far for Malaysian wildlife. In a span of less than one week, we have lost members of two very recognisable species ― a Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni) and a Bryde’s Whale (either Balaenoptera brydei or Balaenoptera edeni). Both died under very different circumstances; the former upon collision with a multi purpose vehicle while attempting to cross the East Coast Expressway 2 while the latter’s cause of death has yet to be confirmed.

Tigers and Whales along with a select few species are what conservationists call charismatic species ― animals unique enough to capture the attention of the general public. The reason for this is still unclear. Some may draw their charm from being large in size like the Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus), while others rely on their unconventional life histories, like the male gestating Seahorse (Hippocampus sp.). More often than not, charismatic species are used as de facto symbols for wildlife conservation.

Although both fauna possess these charismatic values, the story of how they died could not be more different. One tells of the gradual loss of Malaysia’s most iconic species in the face of development while the other, how a lack of evidence-based statements can lead to public confusion.

The tale of the Malayan Tiger

This year itself, we have taken six Tigers from the wild. Aside from the three (mother and cubs) lost in the accident, two were poached in January while another Tiger was found in a Wild Boar trap earlier this week. Six might not seem a large number but considering the Tiger population in Malaysia is estimated to be between 250-340, we have already removed 2.4 per cent of all Malayan Tigers this year alone!

Returning to the incident with the pregnant Tigress, I am pleased that the Minister of Environmental and Natural Resource Datuk Wan Junaidi has announced measures to prevent more such accidents in future including the proposal to build 37 eco-viaducts. However, I hope this will not turn out to be just a knee-jerk reaction in response to public outcry. More importantly, the incorporation of eco-viaducts should not be an excuse to build more roads.

According to Dr Reuben Clements of Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, eco-viaducts will undoubtedly reduce the impact of existing roads on wildlife. The very presence of roads, however, allows accessibility and hence intensifying further threat to wildlife like forest conversion, poaching and illegal trade.

In short, we have to build fewer new roads cutting through forests and focus on building viaducts for wildlife hot spots along the staggering 49,935 km of federal roads. If nothing is done in the near future, we are at risk of relegating Malaysia’s most iconic species to just adorning the covers of our passports.

A beached Whale

The story of the Bryde’s Whale that was found on Malaysian shores is indeed a tragic one. It was first sighted struggling in the shallow waters of Pontian last Monday. Local fishermen managed to tow the poor creature to deeper waters after several attempts. However, its carcass was found a day later about 100 kilometres away near the river mouth of Sungai Sarang Buaya.

In a video report by StarTV, three different reasons were given by “experts” as to why the Whale died. To make matters worse, the whale was misidentified as a Sei Whale (Balaenoptera borealis) when it was actually a Bryde’s Whale from the presence of three parallel ridges on its head.

In the video, a fishery officer explained that the Whale might have been under emotional duress and beached itself after being separated from its pod. A local university professor then theorised that shallower waters could have disrupted Whale migration patterns leading to an eventual stranding. Lastly the Johor branch president of the Malaysian Nature Society pinned the death on disorientation from the noise of heavy shipping in the narrow Malacca Straits.

In response to these claims, MareCet, the only local marine mammal NGO run by actual marine mammalogists, rebutted these statements in a Facebook post. According to them, this particular species of Whale is usually solitary, do not undertake seasonal migrations and do not use echolocation for communication hence would not be affected by shipping vessels. The barrage of inconsistent information is an example of how little we know about marine species inhabiting Malaysian waters and the need for evidence-based statements in reporting.

With that, I caution readers against totally believing reports on wildlife especially the ones that pop up on social media. Alas, only recently the Tokay Gecko (Gekko gecko) was hunted en masse for supposedly being able to cure HIV/AIDS. Ideally, it is good practice to fact check with something as simple as a Google search.

A bright side?

Taking a step back from the causes of death, both cases managed to garner a sizable following on social media. Is this a positive sign for Malaysian wildlife? Or are we Malaysians merely keyboard warriors looking for the next sensational story? I personally believe that everyone can and should have a part to play in conservation, from doing something as simple as spreading awareness on Whale species nomenclature to actively campaigning against the building of new roads that cut through forest.

In the immortal words of Winston Churchill: “Never let a crisis go to waste”, I hope that these twin tragedies will galvanise action to ensure a future for our wildlife, be it terrestrial or marine.

Source: Malay Mail

Malaysia: Of pregnant tigers and sad whales

Malaysia: MPV driver: I did not hit Tiger deliberately

8th February 2016;

The driver of the car who had hit the Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni) while driving along the East Coast Expressway (ECE) said it was an accident.

In a Facebook post, Syahrin Abdul Aziz criticised people who slammed him for hitting the endangered animal and sarcastically questioned them whether they meant that he had actually waited to crash his car into the Tiger.

“How am I supposed to deliberately hit the tiger? It’s like I’m waiting (at) the right place at the right time waiting for a specific Tiger to cross the road at a specific time and hit her with my car?,” he said.

However, others defended him and said that he should not be blamed for the accident.

In an earlier Facebook post, Syahrin said he was driving at a speed of about 100kph to 120kph on the ECE Phase 2.

He said when it happened, it was “very dark” and the nearest cars on both sides of the highway were at least 500m away from his vehicle.

Syahrin said at the 321.1km highway mark, the Tiger suddenly appeared about 5m away from him. It was crossing the road from left to right and he could not avoid it.

A spokesman from the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) said Syahrin would not be charged as it was classified as an accident and that the matter was reported immediately to the authorities after it happened.

Meanwhile, the Terengganu Wildlife Department has confirmed that the Tiger was from the wild, and did not escape from a nearby zoo, Bernama reported.

Its director Mohd Hasdi Husin said based on an autopsy, the Tiger which was pregnant, had died from severe head injuries after being hit by the vehicle.

In the 1 am incident on Saturday, the Tiger was crossing the expressway when it was hit by the MPV heading from Kuala Lumpur towards Kuala Terengganu.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Wan Jaafar said a damaged highway fence may have led to a Tiger’s death in Saturday’s a road accident.

He added that this might have led to the Tiger crossing the road and the accident site was also 700m away from the Rasau forest reserve.

“Tigers were’t the only animals that died around the East Coast Expressway Phase 2”, he said, adding that five Malayan Tapirs(Tapirus indicus) and a Sun Bear(Helarctos malayanus) were also hit by vehicles in the area since 2012.

Source: The Star

Malaysia: MPV driver: I did not hit Tiger deliberately

Police check on the corpse of the Tiger which died after being hit by an MPV along the East Coast Expressway Phase 2 (LPT2) on February 6, 2016.
Photo: Bernama

Malaysia: “It felt like I hit a cat”, says man who knocked down pregnant Tiger
8th February 2016;

A freelance photographer who accidentally knocked down a pregnant Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni) along the East Coast Expressway Phase 2 (LPT2) on Saturday was left heartbroken after he discovered he had hit a Tiger.

Calling himself a cat-lover, Syahrin Abdul Aziz told Astro Awani that he was further disappointed when certain parties accused him of purposely knocking down the protected animal that was later found to be pregnant.

“I have three cats at home,” said Syahrin, who drove an MPV.

“It was heart wrenching to see the eyes of the dead Tiger staring… It was harrowing, but in my heart, I felt that I have knocked down a Cat.”

According to him, the Tiger had appeared like a Cat to him just before he rammed into and killed it instantly.

“When it was crossing, it had the same instincts of a cat… because when a Cat sees a car approaching, it usually doesn’t move elsewhere but continues crossing.

"When I saw it dead, I was sad. And when news went viral that the dead Tiger was pregnant, my heart just broke,” the 42-year-old man was quoted as saying.

Syahrin was said to be on his way home to Marang with his wife and three children when the incident happened at 1 am.

The Department of Wildlife and National Parks subsequently reported that the Tiger was pregnant with two foetuses and died from massive internal injuries.

Source: Malay Mail

Police officers inspect the body of the Tiger which was killed crossing the East Coast Expressway.
Photo: Bernama

Malaysia: Tiger death an accident, says Perhilitan
By Patrick Lee, 7th February 2016;

The driver of the car that hit a Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni) on the East Coast Expressway on Saturday will not be charged for causing the death of the animal.

A Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) spokesman told The Star that it was an accident, and that the driver reported the incident immediately after it happened.

The driver admitted in a post on Facebook to hitting the Tiger on the East Coast Expressway Phase 2 (LPT2) at about midnight that day.

In the post, he said he only saw the Tiger when it was about five metres away from his car.

The animal died on the spot.

Perhilitan officials later performed a post-mortem on the Tiger, and found that it had been pregnant with two fetuses.

It was previously reported that the highway area where the Tiger died was near a forest reserve.

Source: The Star

Malaysia: Have strict protection of our forest corridors — WWF-Malaysia

7th February 2016;

WWF-Malaysia is saddened by the loss of another Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni), the latest being a victim of a vehicle collision along the East Coast Expressway in Terengganu (“Malayan Tiger killed crossing East Coast Expressway,” The Star, February 6, 2016).

Tragically, this healthy female Tiger was later discovered to be pregnant with two cubs (“Malayan Tiger killed on East Coast Highway was pregnant,” The Star, February 6, 2016). Including these young casualties, this has brought the number of dead Tigers to five within the past three weeks alone — an unprecedented number within such a short time frame.

However, these are just the cases which have been recorded, as undoubtedly many more cases of Tiger poaching remains undetected. Unfortunately, the demise of even a single individual is a huge blow to the Tiger population, especially with recent evidence suggesting Malaysia only has about 250-340 Tigers left in the wild.

As the nation progresses towards being developed, the pressure on our natural resources particularly our forest will undoubtedly escalate with more infrastructure such as roads being built or expanded.

The construction of roads, particularly highways, has fragmented major forest complexes in Malaysia and has likely disrupted behavioural patterns and habitat use by large mammals, for example the elimination of Tigers on the western portion of the North-South highway.

Fragmentation caused by roads impedes movements and negatively affects wildlife through vehicular mortality. Unfortunately, mitigation measures using a science-based assessment to counter hindered permeability of Tigers and other wildlife between habitats fragmented by roads are lacking in Malaysia.

Recognising this gap, WWF-Malaysia carried out intensive wildlife habitat use surveys to be able to provide science-based criteria in recommending potential locations for wildlife crossings in Belum-Temengor forest complex in Perak.

This was able to aid the authorities in choosing where a viaduct should be placed in the area to facilitate movement of wildlife between forest patches. This was in fact the first study to identify Tiger crossings and core habitat corridors for mitigating the negative effects of a highway in Malaysia.

Malaysia already has the Central Forest Spine Masterplan for Ecological Linkages, a federal document which identifies 37 important forested linkages throughout Peninsular Malaysia and outlines measures to conserve/enhance their functionality.

However, since land is a state matter, there are varying degrees of success. Within WWF-Malaysia’s priority landscape of Belum-Temengor, various conservation initiatives by the government have been carried out within the corridor that flanks the East-West Highway — most prominently the gazettement of this area as a Permanent Reserved Forest and the construction of a viaduct for wildlife crossings.

Other corridors are not so fortunate, with some being lost completely due to development or the establishment of plantations. However, in some cases it is not too late to act.

If certain corridors are no longer suitable for wildlife crossings, alternative linkages should be identified and conserved for the long-term benefit of wildlife and our forests, which we ultimately depend on for water resources, fresh air and other ecosystem services such as flood prevention.

WWF-Malaysia calls for all relevant state governments to adhere to the Central Forest Spine Masterplan for Ecological Linkages. This includes implementing conservation measures along critical corridors such as providing legal protection for natural forests, and the construction of green infrastructure such as viaducts and elevated highways.

Enhancing linkages through the establishment of green infrastructure such as viaducts especially through robust science-based assessments will help Tigers and other wildlife safely cross roads, which will in turn aid their long term survival within the landscape.

Other measures such as warning signages and speed breakers at strategic locations will also help reduce the number of collisions between vehicles and wildlife. In the meantime, WWF-Malaysia advises motorists to adhere to the speed limits and be cautious of the surroundings when driving along roads flanked by forests.

Source: Malay Mail

Malaysia: Have strict protection of our forest corridors — WWF-Malaysia