2010 is the Year of the Tiger according to Chinese horoscope so what better time than to think about those amazing cats and their desperate plight. Fact: there are less than 3,000 tigers left roaming the planet, a drastic decline from 100,000 tigers nearly a century ago.
Malaysia has its own Malayan Tigers (Panthera tigris jacksoni), found only in the Malay Peninsula, which was recognized in 2004 as one of the nine Tiger sub-species in the world. In the 1950s, there were an estimated 3,000 tigers in Peninsular Malaysia. Today, only about 500 Malayan tigers are believed to remain, but no one knows for certain.
The reason for the decline in tiger population is primarily due to large-scale loss of habitat but also now, the biggest threat is from poaching for its body parts, persecution by angry villagers, and starvation as their prey is over-harvested (according to tradition, tiger parts has been included in Chinese medicine because of the tiger’s strength and mythical power, the Chinese culture believes that the tiger has medicinal qualities, which helps treat chronic ailments, cure disease and replenish the body’s essential energy.)
So what can we do to help save our Malayan Tigers? Many NGOs have action plans and voluntary programmes, media-focused competitions etc to raise awareness and funds for our beloved kingly cat such as WWF Malaysia (World Wildlife Fund) and MYCAT (Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers). Recently a concert evening was held by Lejadi Group in Malaysia to raise funds for MYCAT and other charitable associations: billed as “100% Kylie” – a show created by a Kylie Minogue lookalike Lucy Holmes with Melbourne choreographer Mitchell Bartlett, whose work with the real Kylie ensured replica choreography and dance routines, as she performed renditions of Kylie’s greatest hits.
So we can all do our part to save these rare precious big cats because at the end of the day, it’s because of humans that tigers are dwindling in number. If you want to know more: www.malayantiger.net