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Monday, August 29, 2011

Fresh Snares Set For Tigers Found In Malaysia

Cable snares recently seized by WWF Malaysia
 in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex.
The snares targeted large mammals.
Fresh snares set for tigers have been discovered by WWF-Malaysia’s monitoring team only a short distance from the country’s East-West Highway, a major road that connects Peninsular Malaysia’s northeast to its northwest.  

The discovery came just less than a month after the release of ‘On Borrowed Time’, a documentary that highlights the severity of the poaching and illegal wildlife trade in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex, a wildlife hotspot that is located in the northern state of Perak and crosses into Southern Thailand.  

“Since early August, 12 snares have been detected and deactivated by the team, with even more expected to be found in the area. Based on the sizes and types of snare, it is very clear that poachers are targeting large mammals such as tigers,” said Dato’ Dr. Dionysius Sharma, CEO/Executive Director of WWF-Malaysia.
WWF-Malaysia and TRAFFIC Southeast Asia immediately alerted the Perak Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) for the swift removal of these threats to wildlife.

Another camera-trap in the area captured a photo of possible poachers, just a day before the team trekked in to retrieve the cameras and detected the snares. The wire snares were camouflaged so well that the foot of one of the team’s field assistants had gotten caught in it. 

The photo was shared with DWNP earlier this month to assist in their investigations.

WWF-Malaysia and TRAFFIC Southeast Asia urge enforcement agencies to be vigilant in their monitoring and to conduct rigorous patrols on the ground. Poachers are likely to take advantage of the country’s national holiday period at the end August, which marks the end of Ramadan and Malaysia Independence Day. This is already evident from the snares that have been discovered in the past three weeks alone.

“It’s painfully clear that the poachers ravaging Malaysia’s wildlife are getting more efficient. This begs obvious questions about whether enforcement authorities are managing to keep pace with the criminals. Sadly, it appears that they are not. Even simple actions like regular patrolling and establishment of the planned multi-agency task force at Belum-Temengor are stalled,” said Dr. William Schaedla, Regional Director for TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.

A camera-trap captured this imageof a three-footed Malayan sun bear.
The injury seen in the photo is consistentwith an animal having lost
 a limb while trying to free itself from a snare.
More alarmingly, a camera-trap placed in the area has also captured the photo of a three-footed Malayan sun bear. The injury seen in the photo is consistent with an animal having lost a limb while trying to free itself from a snare. 

Under the new Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, any person who sets or uses any snare for the purpose of hunting can be subject to fines ranging from RM50,000 to RM100,000 (US$16,700 – US$33,500) and imprisonment for a maximum of two years.

At the launch of ‘On Borrowed Time’ last month in conjunction with World Tiger Day 2011, WWF-Malaysia and TRAFFIC Southeast Asia called for a revitalisation of the Belum-Temengor Joint Enforcement Taskforce, the pursuit of poachers and encroachers to the full extent of the law and for all agencies working in the area to show equal effort and commitment towards enforcement.

From 2008 to 2010, 142 snares have been discovered and de-activated in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex. Over 400 wild animals, such as Sambar deer, pangolins, elephants and tigers have been poached inside the protected and numerous poacher camps have also been found.




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*The Royal Bengal Tiger.