PUTRAJAYA: The Malayan Tiger Run 2019 today saw more than 4,000 participants roaring off in support of tiger conservation in Malaysia.
The 5km obstacle fun run, jointly organised by WWF-Malaysia and Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), was flagged off by Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar.
WWF-Malaysia executive director Sophia Lim said the overwhelming response reflected the support of Malaysians to protect the Malayan tiger.
“We also launched our Malayan tiger pledge today, and we hope the people will continue to stand behind us and support us.
“With this pledge, we will take it to the highest political office to make Malayan tigers a national priority.
“We don’t have much time left (to save the tigers). We must act now.”
The run is the first event of such scale to be held in conjunction with Global Tiger Day.
Lim said the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 should be amended to include heftier penalties to send a strong message to wildlife poachers.
Maybank Foundation chief executive officer Shahril Azuar Jimin said the foundation’s partnership with WWF-Malaysia had seen real results.
“In the last three years of our partnership, we have deactivated 230 live snares in the Belum-Temenggor forest, which could have been the death of 230 mammals and even humans.
“In the last year alone, we’ve done patrolling of 6,400km, which is eight times the length of the North-South Expressway,” he added.
Syafiqah Bisnu, who took part in the run, expressed her sadness about the depleting number of tigers in the country.
“As an animal lover myself, I feel that it’s important for conservation efforts to continue, not just because the Malayan tiger is an iconic animal for our country, but also for future generations.
“I do not want my generation to be known as the cause the Malayan tiger’s extinction.”
The 30-year-old pilot also said there should be stiffer penalties for those caught poaching wildlife.
Another runner, G. Kaladevi, 22, said she had enjoyed going through the obstacles which also educated her about the illegal hunting of tigers.
The student, who came to the run with a group of friends, said it was heartbreaking to see images of tigers caught in snares which were shown at booths during the event.
“I hope the government and the public will show more concern for our tigers,” she added.
The Malayan tiger population has dropped from an estimated 3,000 in the 1950s to just 200 today. Habitat loss and poaching are main reasons for the decline.