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The Bangkok Post reported on the rescue of a malayan tiger, caught in a trap- Malaysian officials save endangered Malayan tiger. Quotes below are from the article.


Malaysian wildlife authorities rescued a five-year old Malayan tiger, badly injured in a snare set up by poachers near the country’s jungle border with Thailand, officials said Monday. …

"We received a tip-off on Saturday and a joint patrol with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature-Malaysia’s wildlife protection unit found the injured animal," northern Perak state wildlife and National Parks director Sabrina Shariff told AFP.



The Malayan tiger was only recognised as a separate subspecies to the Indo-Chinese tiger in 2004. It’s range includes southern Thailand as well as Malaysia.


"We face a major problem from Thai and Malaysian poachers who set up numerous snares in the Belum-Temengor forest reserve area between the two countries, with such traps normally located close to roads as the animals are attracted by sound and food smells."



This reinforces a point that is often over-looked in wildlife poaching. The people that actually poach wildlife are typically locals. They are often drawn from hunting cultures, and in many parts of Asia, have less than amicable relations with the authorities. Poachers aren’t foreign criminals ranging through forests trying to kill tigers.

The smuggling conspiracies for tiger parts depend heavily on these local experts to kill tigers for them. Without the cooperation of local communities amongst- or adjacent to- tiger populations, there would be very little poaching.


Sabrina said authorities were also concerned that poachers were targeting other wildlife in the area including Bucking deers, whose footprints were found around other snares near the tiger.



Again, this point was made in my paper in Global Crime on the black market for tiger parts. Tigers typically make up a minority of the species that are poached. Indeed, it’s often more true to say that most poachers are leopard poachers who occasionally take tigers.



"This incident clearly demonstrates the need for a stronger enforcement presence in the Belum-Temengor area," WWF-Malaysia chief Dionysius Sharma said in a statement.

"If this isn’t enough of a clarion call for the government to afford more resources to form an anti-poaching Task Force, I don’t know what is," he added.



Unfortunately enforcement is not proving to be a very efficient way to reduce tiger poaching. The problem is that tigers are secretive animals that live in low densities, in a mosaic of habitats. Poachers have a lot of strategies to beat enforcement agencies.

Malaysia doesn’t actually have a good track record of catching poachers (none in the roughly decade-long sample period I looked at). That’s probably not assisted by the close proximity of the Thai border.



The government said in July it had sought the help of the military to battle poaching, adding that Malaysia was committed to an ambitious plan to double the tiger population to 1,000 by 2020.



This is part of the IUCN global plan to save the tiger. So far we’re not making a lot of progress.

I note that the NZ Herald and some other newspapers that have picked up this story, mention the demand for tiger parts in traditional medicines. This is only partly correct. The market for skins (which are not used for medicine) is also large and in some parts of Asia, far more important than the medicine markets.