Sokong Team
Mon Jun 24 2024

RIMAU: Tigers crucial in maintaining forest ecosystems


The tiger is often a symbol of strength, courage, and resilience. The most famous tigers are the hallmark logos of Maybank, the Johor Ta'zim Football Club's logo, followed by the now discarded Proton logo of the Malayan tiger used between 2000 and 2008.

In times of human-tiger conflicts, people might even wonder why Malayan tigers should be saved from extinction as they are predatory animals that threaten humans.

However, the role of the Malayan tiger in forest ecosystems cannot be overstated. As apex predators, they help maintain the ecosystem's balance by controlling the herbivores' population, ensuring the vegetation is not overgrazed. This balance is critical for the health of the forest, which supports a vast array of biodiversity. "A healthy tiger population indicates a healthy ecosystem," said Harun Rahman, the Project Lead, who is also the husband of Lara, the president of RIMAU.


"The Malayan tiger is a subspecies of tiger found in the tropical forests of the Malay Peninsula," explained Harun, adding that these tigers are smaller than other tiger subspecies, with males typically weighing between 47 to 129 kg and females between 24 to 88 kg.

He also mentioned the critical endangerment of the Malayan tiger, highlighting that fewer than 150 remain in the wild. The founding of RIMAU was driven by the urgent need to prevent the extinction of our Malayan tigers. "Countries such as India have shown that it's possible to double tiger populations in under a decade," added Harun.

The Belum Forest Project

RIMAU's first ongoing project involves patrolling and community engagement at the Royal Belum State Park, part of the larger Belum-Temengor Forest Complex.

"We worked with the Perak State Parks Corporation (PSPC) to form the Menraq Patrolling Unit, consisting of Jahai Orang Aslis.


"By collaborating with the Perak State Parks Corporation (PSPC), RIMAU has increased the number of rangers and improved monitoring and protection measures within the park," said Harun.

"We now have 30 patrollers in the Royal Belum State Park, and together with WWF patrollers and PSPC rangers, we have seen a significant improvement for tigers in the area. The reduction in the number of snares and the increase in tiger numbers are promising signs," he said.

Harun explained that the primary focus for RIMAU was to increase the number of tigers to a viable population in Perak to at least 80 individuals, consisting of a minimum of 20 breeding females. "Saving tigers in Royal Belum was not enough, and we need to look at a larger landscape for the Malayan tiger to survive." RIMAU embarked on their second project soon after.


The Amanjaya Project

The Amanjaya Project also focuses on community involvement in tiger conservation. This project enlists the help of the indigenous Orang Asli communities from the Banun area, particularly the Jahai and Temiar tribes, to patrol the forests and protect tigers from poachers.

"These community members are crucial in dismantling snares and reporting poaching activities. The initiative aids in tiger conservation and provides an alternative livelihood for the Orang Asli, ensuring their participation is both sustainable and beneficial for their communities," noted Harun.

The Amanjaya Project also involves setting up cameras along the Gerik-Jeli highway. "The cameras are to monitor the health of the forest and animals within and assist in human-wildlife conflict mitigation efforts," he clarified.


Despite these efforts, the Malayan tiger faces enormous threats from poaching and habitat loss. RIMAU's projects like Amanjaya and Belum Forest have been instrumental in mitigating these threats, but more support is needed. Harun said that public awareness and involvement, increased funding, and more vigorous enforcement of anti-poaching laws are essential to ensure the survival of this iconic species. "We hope to seek the involvement of corporations that can make a difference in saving these magnificent animals," he said.

Join us in this crucial effort to save the Malayan tiger from extinction. To learn more about the Malayan tiger and how you can support its conservation, visit RIMAU’s page on Sokong. Your contribution can make a significant difference in protecting these magnificent animals and ensuring the health of our forest ecosystems. – Donate Now!

by malaysiakini

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