|Date||7 Sep 2010|
During my time with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF)-Malaysia, I witnessed the cruelty of people poaching tigers, particularly beside roads. Since Jan 2009, WWF-Malaysia’s patrol team, the Wildlife Protection Unit, removed 114 snares from the forests (mostly beside roads) and caught 10 poachers (most of whom were hunting in forests beside roads). Unfortunately, quantitative evidence on the impacts of roads on threatened mammals in Malaysia is lacking. Government agencies require such evidence before they are willing to adopt measures to mitigate the impacts of roads on wildlife. To date, tiger conservationists in Peninsular Malaysia have focused on improving management of protected areas and selectively logged forests through engagement with protected area and forestry sectors. Road authorities, however, have rarely been engaged and vice-versa.
This proposed project aims to contribute vital information to help road authorities mitigate the impacts of roads on tigers and their prey. My project will have strong field ecological and applied conservation-policy components, especially by contributing to the Outcome 4 of the National Tiger Action Plan for Malaysia. This project is timely given that the tiger’s status is currently of great concern to the general public, local conservation groups, and the Malaysian government, which has recently affirmed its commitment to double the wild tiger population by 2020.
The outcomes from this study can be used by road authorities to re-evaluate road-expansion plans based deforestation-risk models. If the wildlife underpasses are not functional, suggested improvements will be proposed to build more effective wildlife crossings to avoid wasting millions on cosmetic corridors. Field surveys in this project will also double as anti-poaching patrols and identify poaching hotspots for enforcement authorities. The road monitoring programme can also be replicated in other key roads in Malaysia. Engagement with government agencies will continue beyond this project to incorporate tiger-friendly road management recommendations into relevant government policies.
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