Malaysia’s endangered tiger population receives a glimmer of hope, marking a positive stride in nationwide conservation endeavors. This ray of optimism comes as camera traps in Malaysia unveil a rare sighting of the critically endangered Malayan tiger. This tiger is one of the last tigers in Malaysia.
Since the 1950s, the country has witnessed a staggering decline in tiger numbers, plummeting from approximately 3000 to fewer than 150 tigers today. Habitat loss due to deforestation and rampant poaching for the illegal wildlife trade are the primary culprits behind this alarming trend. Recognizing the potential ecological catastrophe resulting from the top predator’s decline, the Malaysian government collaborates with Indigenous communities and organizations like WWF. Together, they strive to safeguard endangered species and mitigate the adverse impacts on the delicate forest ecosystem.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), photographer Emmanuel Rondeau set up eight high-definition camera traps for five months across one of the last strongholds for tigers in Malaysia, the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex in the north of Peninsular Malaysia. The project was made possible with the support of the Indigenous community patrol teams and WWF-Malaysia to identify locations, conduct field operations, and undertake monthly battery pack changes.
“The making of these images took months of preparation and field work. We knew it was going to be very difficult considering the low density of tigers in the region and the threats they are facing, but we also knew that the task was extremely important. These high-definition images are a symbol of a new generation of hope,” said Emmanuel Rondeau.
Sophia Lim, Executive Director and CEO, WWF-Malaysia, said: “In Malaysia, the decline of our tigers reflects the complex challenges confronting these magnificent creatures throughout Southeast Asia. Capturing a photo of a Malayan tiger in its natural habitat is a rarity, yet each image serves as a source of hope and a poignant reminder of the ongoing efforts required to safeguard its existence.”