More money needed
> RM18.7 million for three-year tiger audit insufficient: Minister
KUALA LUMPUR: An RM18.7 million allocation for a national tiger audit may not be sufficient for the three-year audit period.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Wan Jaafar said besides the shortage of funds, the ministry also faced insufficient manpower to complete the audit.
“I am confident that if we need more funds, the government would provide it,” he told theSun.
Wan Junaidi said the allocation was approved under the 11th Malaysian Plan and the funds will be released on a year-to-year basis through the Wildlife Department.
He said the department has all the equipment needed but may have to spend its own funds for administrative expenditure.
Wan Junaidi said 250 to 300 Malayan tigers are estimated to be in the wild nationwide but there are some forests that have not been accessed.
“The audit, which began early this year, is for the 2016-2018 period and covers 12,000sq km.
“It is being done in Pahang, which entails a large part of forest.”
He said the audit will also be conducted in Kedah, Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Terengganu and Kelantan.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF-Malaysia) has been working here since 2007, including in the Royal Belum State Park, which is the second largest protected area, and the Temenggor Forest Reserve, which is the second largest forest reserve area in Peninsular Malaysia.
It was reported that in 2008, the Belum-Temenggor area was identified as priority areas in the National Tiger Conservation Action Plan.
WWF-Malaysia CEO and executive director Datuk Dionysius Sharma reportedly said the status of tigers and their survival factors were unknown.
He said there have been several major conservation initiatives done in cooperation with the government in recent years, including the gazetting of a critical “wildlife corridor” in the Amanjaya Forest Reserve, the construction of a viaduct so that wildlife can cross the East-West Highway and closure of several logging road access points in Perak.