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.

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