According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the overall number of wild tigers increased after a century of decline.
India, Nepal, Bhutan, Russia and China have witnessed a stable or increasing tiger population for the past years. Despite the good news of the overall increasing trend, much work still needs to be done in areas like Southeast Asia, where the tiger species is at the brink of extinction.
To deliberate progress made by Tiger Range Countries (TRCs) towards strengthening their conservation of wild tigers, prey species and habitats, the 4th Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation (AMC4) was held on Jan 19-21, 2022.
The conference was jointly organised by the Malaysian government and Global Tiger Forum (GTF), supported by local and international partners and served as a significant preparatory forum for the Second Global Tiger Summit, to be held in Russia.
The AMC4 witnessed various sharing sessions among TRCs and their partners. Some of the sessions touched on financial resource mobilisation, landscape conservation and habitat management, governance and sustainable rehabilitation.
In his officiating speech, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said tigers had always been revered in many cultures across Asia
as a symbol of bravery, power and valour.
“It is extremely unfortunate that the future of these majestic creatures is at stake due to man’s activities such as poaching, illegal wildlife trade, and land-use changes, among others,” he said.
Ismail then shared the critically endangered Malayan tiger, Malaysia’s symbol of strength and resilience, which experts predicted would vanish within five to 10 years if strategic action was not immediately implemented. Therefore, Malaysia decided to strengthen its tiger conservation efforts to prevent this situation.
Sustainable financial mechanisms
Ismail said tiger conservation was costly to execute. Adequate, substantial technical and financial resources were needed for effective implementation. Therefore, he believed it was crucial
for resource mobilisation and sustainable financial mechanisms to be put in place.
“The loss of tigers knows no geographical, cultural and political boundaries. In this time of need, let us, as the TRCs and partners, work together in the spirit of a world family to save our tigers!
“For this reason, Malaysia is proposing to adopt the Kuala Lumpur Joint Statement on Tiger Conservation. This 13-point Joint Statement would support the implementation of actions within the Southeast Asia Tiger Recovery Action Plan (STRAP) based on agreed priorities to recover and boost the tiger population in potential tiger habitats within Southeast Asia,” said Ismail.
He further explained that adopting the Kuala Lumpur Joint Statement, STRAP and Resource Mobilisation Strategy would provide TRCs with a means to set realistic, actionable targets in their bid to achieve tiger recovery goals.
He added that member countries would further deliberate the Financial Resource Mobilisation Assessment. It would include financing plans for tiger conservation which Southeast Asian countries might use when carrying out tiger conservation efforts.
“I would like to reiterate Malaysia’s firm pledge to protect the tiger and its habitats that was made in the St Petersburg Declaration 2010.
Malaysia will continue to strengthen its tiger conservation efforts and support various global initiatives, including those recommended through the AMC4.”
The full text of the Kuala Lumpur Joint Statement on Tiger Conservation can be retrieved from the Facebook page of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources Malaysia (KeTsa).
The statement emphasised that the TRCs, being custodians of the last remaining tigers in the wild, had a common goal of stabilising and strengthening wild tiger populations and their prey across their historical ranges. — @Forest