Throughout the years, the Malayan Tiger (Harimau Malaya) population has been dwindling. The death of one tiger is a huge loss, but when deaths occur among many tigers and affect the entire species, that can be devastating. The other factor that makes losing tigers worse for us as Malaysians, is not being able to enjoy their presence as a national icon. Although the Malaysian Tigers (Harimau Malaya) are regarded as a national icon in Malaysia, the populations are still declining, so the question is – who is to blame?
Are Malayan Tigers (Harimau Malaya) A Threat To Us Humans?
These Malayan Tigers (Harimau Malaya) do not attack humans unless provoked. The rapid decline in the numbers of Malayan Tigers (Harimau Malaya) is starting to become a national problem for Malaysia, as not more than 150 tigers are left in the wild jungles of this country. The deaths of these tigers play a significant role in the jungle’s ecosystem. It is even more heartbreaking to know that the reason behind these deaths is human greed.
The Real Problem: Illegal Poaching And Illegal Deforestation
Poaching has been rampant in the forest reserves of Malaysia for decades. Illegal activity began as early as the 1960s and has continued until today. Poachers have set thousands of snares that indiscriminately kill wildlife, including endangered species. The Malayan Tigers (Harimau Malaya) are poached for various reasons, but alleged medicinal value and cultural reasons are at the top of the list. The demand for exotic animals has caused the over-exploitation of species and pushed them to the brink of extinction. It was reported that 103 parts of tigers were seized in Peninsular Malaysia from 2000-2015 alone. Source.
Furthermore, the numbers of tigers have continued to decrease, especially with the widespread destruction of their forest habitat due to illegal logging, which has resulted in lesser prey for the tigers. Matters are made worse when much of the jungle shares common borders with agricultural land. This is despite the government establishing protected areas and forest reserves. Forest areas that are fragmented, small in size, and isolated from one another can cause reduced prey for the tiger and inbreeding among wildlife. This ultimately throws off the balance of the forest’s ecosystem.
The Malayan tiger (Harimau Malaya) is an apex predator and a keystone species. As such, it has an impact on the entire ecosystem. If The Malayan Tiger (Harimau Malaya) disappears, so will many other species. In conserving tigers, we preserve some of the world’s richest ecosystems and other endangered flagship species. The loss of biodiversity signals the loss of the services that nature provides us, from food and medicine to fresh water and climate regulation. If we do not act soon, we are bound to suffer irreversible harm.
It is time for Malaysians to act and do something more to halt the decline in the number of the Malayan Tigers (Harimau Malaya). Do we want our future generations to look at the coat of arms and question why we did not protect the very animal that symbolizes the nation? We must not allow the world’s remarkable creatures to be supplanted by misplaced values and selfish vanity. The decision to protect our forest is no longer a choice but a necessity. We must come together to save the species in its natural habitat.