The idea of confining endangered wild tigers in enclosures in the name of eco-tourism should be seen as just another wanton exploitation of wildlife.
Unlike conservation forest reserves where free roaming animals are kept after being captured for their protection, tiger parks, like the one being planned in Penang, are grossly inappropriate for a species whose natural habitat covers a huge range.
Animal activists slam plans for Malaysian tiger park
Feeding and housing the tigers alone can be costly. Food alone could costs up to 30,000 ringgit (8,230 dollars) per animal per year. A coalition of wildlife groups in Malaysia have criticised plans by northern Penang to set up a 40 hectare (100 acre) tiger park, saying it could hurt the state’s tourist industry. The park would also go against the central government’s commitment to protect and increase tiger populations in the wild, the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MyCat) said in a letter over the weekend to the state’s chief minister.
The department of wildlife and national parks wants to double the country’s remaining 500-strong wild tiger population through building zoos and wildlife parks.
Simply penning tigers always sound simple and exciting but, in reality it has far more negative consequences.
Some zoos or animal parks in the past have simply been a cover for illegal animal traders.
If this happened in Penang its’ tourism industry could suffer. Malaysia does not want any of their parks to gain the reputation like the Harbin Siberian Tiger Park and the Guilin Tiger Park in China. They have been implicated in the killing and sale of their animals. “There have been cases where a country’s tourism-driven income has been severely affected because of the response to an ill-thought of action,” the group said. Malaysia has more than 40 zoos and according to MyCat monitoring these for illegal wildlife trading was already a major task.
It said a number of zoos here have already been linked to the illegal wildlife trade and the Taiping Zoo in northern Perak state and the Saleng Zoo in southern Johor have been prosecuted for violations. The group also pointed out that feeding and housing the tigers would be financially draining as food alone could cost up to 30,000 ringgit (8,230 dollars) per animal per year. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng told AFP his government would study the matter further before making a decision.
Let the Malaysian government know you want their tigers to stay free.
The Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (Mycat) said the news was disappointing as the state government had clearly gone against the Government’s commitment of protecting and doubling the 500 tiger population in the wild following the recently released National Tiger Action Plan.
Excerpts courtesy of terradaily.com – Staff Writers Kuala Lumpur (AFP) March 22, 2009
Excerpts courtesy of thestar.com
Image: tiger courtesy of theviewspaper.net