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About Malayan Tigers

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Introduction to Harimau Malaya in Pahang

The Malayan Tiger (Harimau Malaya), otherwise known by its Latin name as Panthera Tigris Jacksoni, is a subspecies of tiger found in Peninsular Malaysia and considered native to that country. Unfortunately, it is considered critically endangered due to multiple threats and has been listed on the red list of IUCN in 2015. 

In Malay, this animal is called Harimau Malaya, sometimes shortened to simply “rimau.” It is considered a national icon of the country as it is not only used as a symbol of the coat of arms of Malaysia, but it is also a symbol of the Malaysian national football team since the team refers to themselves as Harimau Malaya. Below are more Malayan tiger facts that can help with further efforts to prevent them from going extinct.

Malayan Tiger facts are too numerous to enumerate, but some aspects that make the tiger so fascinating are its beautifully striped fur. Majestic and noble in appearance, the tiger is distinct thanks to the luxurious orange coat with recognizable dark stripes. In terms of size, Malayan Tigers (Harimau Malaya) are smaller than the Bengal tigers. 

Other Malayan tiger facts include its sizes, such as the body length and height. The male tigers of the species seem to have an average length of 8 feet and 6 inches, approximately 259cm, whereas the females are around 7 feet and 10 inches, about 239cm in length. The height of male tigers can reach about 114cm, and they may weigh up to 129.1 kg. The females are a little bit smaller, with the average reaching up to 104cm, and can weigh around 88 kg. 

When studied closely, no significant differences were detected when scientists compared the skulls of the tigers (Harimau Malaya) to the Indochinese species. The same unidentifiable differences were detected when comparing the fur of both subspecies. However, according to a National Geographic report, it was discovered in 2004 that the Harimau Malaya is its subspecies as it possesses characteristics that are specific to its kind, genetically. Before this discovery, the tiger was assumed to be the same as the Indochinese tiger.

All About Harimau Malaya in Pahang.
Appearance and Characteristics
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The Harimau Malaya in Pahang, like other tiger species, are solitary felines and prefer the company of their own rather than living in pride like lions. However, when female tigers go into heat during mating season (November to March), they can be found in groups. While the mating period lasts, the females will leave traces of their scents as a clear message to the males, signaling their interest to mate. 

On the other hand, the male tigers use scent to mark their territories, warning other males not to approach the area they’ve marked. Extraordinarily, the tigers (Harimau Malaya) use various communication tools, including chuffs, hisses, growls, roars, and moans.

The Malayan Tiger can be found in Pahang, Malaysia, in the southern parts of the Malay Peninsula. They have grown especially unique as they are extremely rare with their population dwindling down to astonishingly low numbers now. A staggering 97% of population loss has been observed in this subspecies over the past century. Peter Zahler, the Vice President of Conservation Initiatives at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle stated, “What that means is that every tiger remaining in the wild is precious.”

The tigers (Harimau Malaya), are considered to have originated from the original nine subspecies of tigers. Of the nine subspecies, three of them are already extinct with one more considered extinct as well. This fourth speculation is the South China tiger, which is also considered to be extinct as it hasn’t been found for many years. Sadly, it seems like the Malayan Tigers (Harimau Malaya) might be next on this list since they have become extremely endangered. Many scientists and conservationists are very concerned about the possibility of Malayan tigers becoming extinct. 

According to Chief Scientist and Tiger Program Director for Panthera, John Goodrich, there are only a paltry 150 tigers left in the wild. The IUCN Red List claims that from those numbers, only about an estimated 80 to 120 tigers are considered to be breeding adults, with the numbers thought to have declined over the years.

There are a few Malayan Tigers (Harimau Malaya) living in captivity right now, with some of them found in the Johor Zoo, Zoo Negara, and Taiping Zoo. Around 54 of these species of tigers are found in North American zoos and some are living in the Cincinnati Zoo as well.

Habitat and Those in Captivity
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Conservation Efforts

The tigers (Harimau Malaya) can be found in Pahang, Malaysia, in the southern parts of the Malay Peninsula. They have grown incredibly unique as they are extremely rare, with their population dwindling to astonishingly low numbers. Over the past century, a staggering 97% of population loss has been observed in this subspecies. A comprehensive 2005 study of historic tiger records (from 1991 to 2003) stated that forest complexes in the main tiger states of Pahang, Perak, Kelantan, and Terengganu could provide a core zone that could theoretically support 1-3 tigers per 100 km2 or a population of 493 – 1,480. Taman Negara National Park and the Greater Taman Negara area in Pahang are especially significant for wild tiger conservation because they provide a large area with low human density. A significant portion of the Central Forest Spine grows through Pahang. Therefore, the connectivity of these forests must be preserved to ensure protected pathways for the Malayan Tigers. 

It is undeniable that a clearly defined tiger (Harimau Malaya) conservation landscape of sufficient size needs to be identified, demarcated, and communicated as a safe refuge for the wild tigers. This area then needs to become a focus for governments, private agencies, and NGOs to monitor and continue to conserve through the generations. 

At a national level, the Federal Government has formed the National Tiger Conservation Task Force (MyTTF), which has six initiatives they will implement to help achieve the goal of saving the tigers (Harimau Malaya). Those six initiatives are:

  1. Boots on the ground enforcement and patrolling by the Wildlife and National Parks Department (PERHILITAN) together with the police, army, and the Orang Asli community;
  2. Strengthen and maintain habitat through sustainable land use management and stopping any encroachment and poaching activities;
  1. Increase forestry areas in the Peninsula from 43.41% to 50% by the year 2040 in line with the Fourth National Physical Plan;
  1. Establish the Malayan Tiger Conservation Unit under PERHILITAN to empower effective governance and strengthen the National Wildlife Forensic Laboratory as a center of excellence for the ex-situ conservation of the tigers.
  1. Empower innovative financial instruments in addition to the existing Ecological Fiscal Transfer for Biodiversity Conservation financial incentives and the implementation of the Malayan tiger habitat accreditation scheme; and,
  2. Carry out the “Save the Malayan Tigers” campaign to increase and involvement of strategic partners.