Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Action plan to save the Malayan tiger

PUTRAJAYA: The fate of the Malayan tiger is set to change as the Government adopts a comprehensive action plan to manage and protect the animal from extinction.

The plan’s adoption by the National Biodiversity-Biotechnology Council was made with the aim of not only protecting the near-extinct subspecies but also to increase its population to about 1,000 by 2020.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Malaysia could not afford to lose the Malayan tiger as it was a subspecies unique to the country.

According to official records, the tiger population was estimated at 3,000 in the 1950s but current figures showed a drastic drop to between 450 and 500 only.

“In line with this, we will take concrete efforts to protect tigers including through in-situ conservation efforts. The aim is also to widen the area where wildlife is protected,” he said after chairing the council’s sixth meeting on Wednesday.

Also present were Natural Resources and the Environment Minister Datuk Douglas Unggah Embas, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Maximus Ongkili, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Khaled Nordin and International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the council had asked states and also government agencies to consider biodiversity conservation when they plan and implement development projects.
He said the council had also agreed to further update and expand the national biodiversity spatial database’s development to throughout Peninsular Malaysia and also in identified areas in Sabah and Sarawak.

He said that the database, which uses remote sensing technology and geographic information systems, was an effective method to help conserve the country’s rich biodiversity resources,
“We were also informed of efforts initiated by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry to create an inventory on the wealth of the country’s biodiversity. This effort is crucial so that we actually know our resources which can be used sustainably to generate new wealth for the country,” he said.

Muhyiddin also called on relevant agencies to increase public awareness and outreach programmes on the country’s biodiversity through communication, education and public awarness programmes.

He said such programmes must be well co-ordinated to ensure their effectiveness and a proper network should be established to reduce duplication of efforts.
*Taken from The Star Online

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