ArticlePDF Available

Panthera tigris jacksoni Population Crash and Impending Extinction due to Environmental Perturbation and Human-Wildlife Conflict

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

The critically endangered Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni), with an estimated population of less than 200 individuals left in isolated rainforest habitats in Malaysia, is in an intermediate population crash leading to extinction in the next decade. The population has decreased significantly by illegal poaching, environmental perturbation, roadkill, and being captured during human–wildlife conflicts. Forty-five or more individuals were extracted from the wild (four animals captured due to conflict, one death due to canine distemper, one roadkilled, and 39 poached) in the 12 years between 2008–2019. The Malayan tigers are the first wildlife species to test positive for COVID-19 and are subject to the Canine Distemper Virus. These anthropogenic disturbances (poaching and human–tiger conflict) and environmental perturbation (decreasing habitat coverage and quality) have long been identified as impending extinction factors. Roadkill and infectious diseases have emerged recently as new confounding factors threatening Malayan tiger extinction in the near future. Peninsular Malaysia has an existing Malayan tiger conservation management plan; however, to enhance the protection and conservation of Malayan tigers from potential extinction, the authority should reassess the existing legislation, regulation, and management plan and realign them to prevent further population decline, and to better enable preparedness and readiness for the ongoing pandemic and future threats.
Content may be subject to copyright.
animals
Article
Panthera tigris jacksoni Population Crash and Impending
Extinction due to Environmental Perturbation and
Human-Wildlife Conflict
Dennis Choon Yung Ten 1, 2, *, Rohana Jani 3, 4, *, Noor Hashida Hashim 5, Salman Saaban 6,
Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim 7and Mohd Tajuddin Abdullah 8 ,9 ,*


Citation: Ten, D.C.Y.; Jani, R.;
Hashim, N.H.; Saaban, S.; Abu
Hashim, A.K.; Abdullah, M.T.
Panthera tigris jacksoni Population
Crash and Impending Extinction due
to Environmental Perturbation and
Human-Wildlife Conflict. Animals
2021,11, 1032. https://doi.org/
10.3390/ani11041032
Academic Editor: Pia Lucidi
Received: 1 March 2021
Accepted: 1 April 2021
Published: 6 April 2021
Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral
with regard to jurisdictional claims in
published maps and institutional affil-
iations.
Copyright: © 2021 by the authors.
Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
This article is an open access article
distributed under the terms and
conditions of the Creative Commons
Attribution (CC BY) license (https://
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/
4.0/).
1Department of Wildlife and National Parks Pahang, Jalan Kompleks Tun Razak, Bandar Indera Mahkota,
Kuantan 25582, Malaysia
2Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Malaya, Jalan Profesor Diraja Ungku Aziz,
Kuala Lumpur 50603, Malaysia
3Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya, Jalan Profesor Diraja Ungku Aziz,
Kuala Lumpur 50603, Malaysia
4Ungku Aziz Centre for Development Studies, University of Malaya, Jalan Profesor Diraja Ungku Aziz,
Kuala Lumpur 50603, Malaysia
5Center for Foundation Studies in Science, University of Malaya, Jalan Profesor Diraja Ungku Aziz,
Kuala Lumpur 50603, Malaysia; nhhpasum@um.edu.my
6Department of Wildlife and National Parks Johor, Blok B, Wisma Persekutuan, 9th Floor, Jalan Air Molek,
Johor Bahru 80000, Malaysia; salman@wildlife.gov.my
7Department of Wildlife and National Parks, KM10, Jalan Cheras, Kuala Lumpur 56100, Malaysia;
kadir@wildlife.gov.my
8Institute of Tropical Biodiversity and Sustainable Development, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu,
Kuala Nerus 21030, Malaysia
9Academy of Sciences Malaysia, West Wing, MATRADE Tower, Level 20, Jalan Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah,
Kuala Lumpur 50480, Malaysia
*Correspondence: dennis@wildlife.gov.my (D.C.Y.T.); rohanaj@um.edu.my (R.J.);
abdullahmt@gmail.com (M.T.A.)
Simple Summary:
The Malayan tiger, with less than 200 individuals in Malaysia, is in an intermediate
population crash. Anthropogenic disturbances (poaching, roadkill, and human–tiger conflict), envi-
ronmental perturbation (decreasing habitat quality), and infectious diseases have been identified as
factors leading to impending extinction. Preliminary findings from stakeholders indicate Peninsular
Malaysia has an existing Malayan Tiger conservation management programme. However, to enhance
the protection and conservation of the Malayan Tiger, the authority should re-assess the existing
legislation, regulation, and management plan, and realign them to prevent population decline.
Abstract:
The critically endangered Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni), with an estimated
population of less than 200 individuals left in isolated rainforest habitats in Malaysia, is in an
intermediate population crash leading to extinction in the next decade. The population has decreased
significantly by illegal poaching, environmental perturbation, roadkill, and being captured during
human–wildlife conflicts. Forty-five or more individuals were extracted from the wild (four animals
captured due to conflict, one death due to canine distemper, one roadkilled, and 39 poached) in
the 12 years between 2008–2019. The Malayan tigers are the first wildlife species to test positive
for COVID-19 and are subject to the Canine Distemper Virus. These anthropogenic disturbances
(poaching and human–tiger conflict) and environmental perturbation (decreasing habitat coverage
and quality) have long been identified as impending extinction factors. Roadkill and infectious
diseases have emerged recently as new confounding factors threatening Malayan tiger extinction in
the near future. Peninsular Malaysia has an existing Malayan tiger conservation management plan;
however, to enhance the protection and conservation of Malayan tigers from potential extinction,
the authority should reassess the existing legislation, regulation, and management plan and realign
them to prevent further population decline, and to better enable preparedness and readiness for the
ongoing pandemic and future threats.
Animals 2021,11, 1032. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11041032 https://www.mdpi.com/journal/animals
Animals 2021,11, 1032 2 of 14
Keywords:
wildlife management; wildlife strategies; anthropogenic disturbances; environmental
perturbation; infectious diseases
1. Introduction
The critically endangered Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni) is in an intermediate
population crash leading to extinction in the wild by the next decade. It is estimated that
less than 200 individuals are left in fragmented and isolated rainforest habitats in Malaysia.
The Malayan tiger is a large carnivore that plays an important ecological role by
maintaining the balance between the interactions of predators, herbivores, and plant
diversity for the stability of the rainforest ecosystems. The species is proudly displayed
on the coat of arms of Malaysia as the symbol of strength and royal power in Malaysia [
1
].
Culturally, the folk-tales of the mighty Malayan tiger can be traced back centuries in the
Malay culture. The myths have been written in articles such as some Malay Studies in the
Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society [
2
], the Malay Annals rewrite by
Tun Sri Lanang in 1612 [
3
,
4
], and the Alfred Russel Wallace travelogue book entitled—The
Malay Archipelago in 1869 in Melaka [5].
The Malayan tiger population is now facing severe and apparent threats of extinction.
The Malayan tigers are threatened by anthropogenic disturbances (poaching, industrial
agriculture expansion, commercial logging, and human settlement), environmental pertur-
bation (disturbances, decreasing habitat quality, and pollution), trade in traditional Chinese
medicine using illegal tiger products [68], and by diseases [812].
Through the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP), Malaysia’s Govern-
ment has always placed top priority on Malayan tiger conservation. The DWNP recognised
the Malayan tiger as a totally protected species and a critically endangered species, as
published in the Malaysian mammals red list in 2017 [13].
Regarding species conservation, Malaysia has started systematically implementing
the national conservation initiative–the Malaysia National Tiger Conservation Action Plan
(NTCAP) in 2009 with the intended goal to double the country’s tiger population from then
500 to 1000 by the year 2020 [
1
]. The NTCAP has drafted a series of specific actions to aid
the wild tiger population in Malaysia, focussing on habitat protection, species protection,
human–tiger conflict, and research. However, the NTCAP focusses on species in situ
conservation but with minimal attention to the species’ ex situ conservation. Considering
the latest population count of wild Malayan tigers in 2018, the conservation actions of the
NTCAP have diverted from the original goals. During 2018, the Malaysian Government
launched the major “Save the Malayan Tiger” campaign. The campaign has employed
an integrated approach. There are five programmes: conservation, research, funding and
corporate social responsibility, enforcement, awareness publicity and promotion campaigns.
The new Malayan tiger conservation planning has included ex situ conservation. It aims to
establish the National Tiger Conservation Center and venture into Malayan tiger captive
breeding under conservation and research programme.
Following the launch of the NTCAP in 2009, the Government of Malaysia, through
the Department of Town and Country Planning (DTCP), followed up by establishing the
Central Forest Spine (CFS): Master Plan for Ecological Linkages in 2010, the main objective
of which is to create ecological linkages for environmentally sensitive areas. NTCAP has
been used as the main reference to stimulate the establishment of the linkages. Mean-
while, the government also began the “Save the Malayan Tiger” campaign in 2018 for
integrated conservation management planning, including the ex situ dimension. However,
as Sanderson, et al. [
14
] mentioned, sometimes good science is necessary but not sufficient
for conservation. Successful tiger conservation needs support from the tiger community
stakeholder. The government and the non-government organisations need to support
and integrate the conservation research findings into development plans and the people’s
daily consciousness [
14
]. The NTCAP and the “Save the Malayan Tiger” campaign are
Animals 2021,11, 1032 3 of 14
the result of integrated and holistic tiger conservation efforts. However, the wild popu-
lation downward trend is persisting. The population figures indicate the Malayan tiger
population has lost a big portion of its natural population, with approximately 200 wild
individuals now [
15
,
16
] and 65 captive individuals in Malaysia [
12
]. The Malayan tiger
population in Malaysia is critically threatened [
6
], and the wild Malayan tigers potentially
will collapse [
17
] by 2022, as predicted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-Malaysia [
18
].
Looking at the current wild population status, we are close to losing the whole population
across the entire state range.
Therefore, this paper aims to present the tiger’s current conservation status and
examine the tiger’s likeliness for impending extinction while impacted by anthropogenic
disturbances due to environmental perturbation and recent zoonotic diseases.
2. Materials and Methods
We screened documents and internal annual reports from the Department of Wildlife
and National Parks (DWNP) Malaysia. We conducted and analysed questionnaires from
selected captive tiger facilities that housed captive Malayan tigers.
Based on available datasets, we interpreted the anthropogenic activities of the tropical
lowland habitats, the impact of human–tiger conflict, and the roles of captive breeding
to provide new insights for future global strategies for the management and perpetual
conservation of this majestic critically endangered species for our next generation.
2.1. Sampling
The questionnaire was carried out from December 2018 to June 2019. During the
present study, we distributed 73 questionnaires through emails or handed the hardcopy
to the potential respondents with various positions in the 48 known captive tiger fa-
cilities globally and ten captive facilities in Malaysia that owned Malayan tigers. The
zoos’ records consist of the Malayan tiger captive population based on datasets from
the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) Malaysia and the Malayan tiger
(Panthera tigris jacksoni) Studbook which were extracted for this study [19].
The questionnaire distribution first was done using a pilot study in July 2018, where all
the respondents’ unanswerable items were restructured. The questionnaire was registered
under the University of Malaya and compiled according to the rules and regulations set
under the University of Malaya Research Ethics Committee (reference number UM.TNC
2/UMREC -239).
2.1.1. Questionnaire Development
The type of sampling approach applied was a cross-sectional sampling survey and
involved data collection at one point in time [
20
]. This study involved a non-probability
sampling method. The respondents were the directors, veterinarians, senior supervisors,
and senior keepers from the captive animal institutions dealing with captive Malayan tiger
ex situ management.
The instrument was developed using both “closed-ended” and “open-ended” techniques
using the 1–5 Likert scale to allow the respondents to give a value for their opinions. The
questionnaire was written in English and divided into five sections (Supplementary File 1).
Section A contained the respondent’s background with six questions about demo-
graphic details such as name, gender, education level, the field of expertise, the subfield of
expertise, and the number of working years in the conservation field.
Section B contained the institution’s background. This Section had five questions:
name of the institution, the number of wildlife species kept in the institution, institution
category, and the respondents’ position in the institution.
Section C regarded animal captive management, and the questionnaire focussed on the
origin and background of the Malayan tiger. The items regarded the animal population’s
initial sources, the number of years the institution had housed the animals, and the purpose
of the institution’s captive programme. Regarding the 89 questions in section C, the items
Animals 2021,11, 1032 4 of 14
were specifically designed to collect information and opinions on the species’ captive
animal management. Most of the questions were close-ended questions except for two
open-ended questions. The open-ended questions enabled the respondents to give their
opinions on any other domains and items essential for the animal species and captive
conservation management.
Section D regarded animal ex situ management and contained 33 questions to gather
expert opinions on animal ex situ management. Regarding the ex situ conservation efforts
for the species, the author also provided 15 questions to explore the estimated amount of
cost to the institution for the particular animal species. This section also had one open-
ended question to enable the respondents to list any other domains in which their opinions
were important in the ex situ species management.
Last, section E was for general comments; five open-ended questions inquired about
the respondents’ general comments and views regarding animal conservation management.
The questionnaire was designed in the simplest and most informative way to avoid
misunderstandings, confusion, or bias amongst respondents. Some of the questions needed
the respondents to give a rating based on the Likert 1–5 scale. The Likert scale required the
respondents to agree or disagree with the statements on a five-point scale [
21
]. Considering
the purpose of this research, we used four types of Likert scale for important (1 = very
unimportant, 2 = unimportant, 3 = neither unimportant nor important, 4 = important and
5 = very important), agreement (1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = neither agree nor
disagree, 4 = agree and 5 = strongly agree), quality (1 = poor, 2 = fair, 3 = good, 4 = very
good and 5 = excellent) and frequency (1 = never, 2 = rarely, 3 = occasionally, 4 = often and
5 = always).
2.1.2. Quanlitative Data Analysis
The data were coded and analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Science
software programme (IBM SPSS Statistic Version 20, 2011, Armonk, NY, USA, accessed on
15 September 2019). The percentage was used in representing the data (Supplementary File 2).
2.2. Secondary Data
We also compiled the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP’s) annual
reports, published reports, and wildlife conflict database from 2008 to 2019 and classified
them into various categories.
3. Results
The structured questionnaire was collected from 30 expert respondents (14 Malayan
tiger captive facilities), including 20 local zoo respondents from five facilities, regarding the
current governance of the ex situ Malayan tiger management. Malaysia has ten facilities
that own captive Malayan tigers, with eight in Peninsular Malaysia and one each in the
States of Sabah and Sarawak. We received 30 completed (41%) questionnaires (n= 30) from
14 captive animal facilities (29%) from 30 expert respondents. Out of the 14 facilities that
gave a response, five were from Malaysia’s local captive animal facilities.
The 30 expert respondents were from zoos (26 respondents) and rescue centers
(4 respondents)
comprising executive-level (4), administrative-level (5), veterinarian or
husbandry curator (13), and supervisor (8) responsibilities. Sixteen percent of the respon-
dents were Masters degree holders, 50% were first degree holders, 17% were diploma
holders, and certificate holders were 17%.
3.1. The Malayan Tiger Ex Situ Conservation Policy
About 93% of the expert respondents agreed that it was important that scientific
knowledge be integrated into the Malayan tiger conservation policy and practice (Figure 1).
However, the expert respondents also noted that the current integration of scientific knowl-
edge of Malayan tigers in species conservation policy and practice is 30.8% occasionally,
38.5% often, and 15.4% always (Figure 2).
Animals 2021,11, 1032 5 of 14
Animals 2021, 11, x 5 of 14
The 30 expert respondents were from zoos (26 respondents) and rescue centers (4
respondents) comprising executive-level (4), administrative-level (5), veterinarian or hus-
bandry curator (13), and supervisor (8) responsibilities. Sixteen percent of the respondents
were Masters degree holders, 50% were first degree holders, 17% were diploma holders,
and certificate holders were 17%.
3.1. The Malayan Tiger Ex Situ Conservation Policy
About 93% of the expert respondents agreed that it was important that scientific
knowledge be integrated into the Malayan tiger conservation policy and practice (Figure
1). However, the expert respondents also noted that the current integration of scientific
knowledge of Malayan tigers in species conservation policy and practice is 30.8% occa-
sionally, 38.5% often, and 15.4% always (Figure 2).
Figure 1. The importance of the integration of scientific knowledge in ex situ species management
into the species’ conservation policy and practice.
Figure 2. The existing integration of scientific knowledge of the captive species management into
the species’ conservation policy and practice.
Considering the survey, 52% of the respondents agreed that the institution must im-
plement Malayan tiger strategic and management plans (Figure 3). To implement the
plans, it was noted that the Malayan tiger origin country needs to design and organise
strategic and management plans for the captive animal facilities, as indicated by 78.6% of
the respondents agreeing (Figure 4).
Figure 1.
The importance of the integration of scientific knowledge in ex situ species management
into the species’ conservation policy and practice.
Animals 2021, 11, x 5 of 14
The 30 expert respondents were from zoos (26 respondents) and rescue centers (4
respondents) comprising executive-level (4), administrative-level (5), veterinarian or hus-
bandry curator (13), and supervisor (8) responsibilities. Sixteen percent of the respondents
were Masters degree holders, 50% were first degree holders, 17% were diploma holders,
and certificate holders were 17%.
3.1. The Malayan Tiger Ex Situ Conservation Policy
About 93% of the expert respondents agreed that it was important that scientific
knowledge be integrated into the Malayan tiger conservation policy and practice (Figure
1). However, the expert respondents also noted that the current integration of scientific
knowledge of Malayan tigers in species conservation policy and practice is 30.8% occa-
sionally, 38.5% often, and 15.4% always (Figure 2).
Figure 1. The importance of the integration of scientific knowledge in ex situ species management
into the species’ conservation policy and practice.
Figure 2. The existing integration of scientific knowledge of the captive species management into
the species’ conservation policy and practice.
Considering the survey, 52% of the respondents agreed that the institution must im-
plement Malayan tiger strategic and management plans (Figure 3). To implement the
plans, it was noted that the Malayan tiger origin country needs to design and organise
strategic and management plans for the captive animal facilities, as indicated by 78.6% of
the respondents agreeing (Figure 4).
Figure 2.
The existing integration of scientific knowledge of the captive species management into the
species’ conservation policy and practice.
Considering the survey, 52% of the respondents agreed that the institution must
implement Malayan tiger strategic and management plans (Figure 3). To implement the
plans, it was noted that the Malayan tiger origin country needs to design and organise
strategic and management plans for the captive animal facilities, as indicated by 78.6% of
the respondents agreeing (Figure 4).
Animals 2021, 11, x 6 of 14
Figure 3. The implementation of the species strategic management plan and research procedures
by the institution.
Figure 4. The need for a conservation policy or strategy or a species management plan by the cap-
tive animal institution from the animal host country.
3.2. Anthropogenic Disturbances
Within about seven decades of persecution and prime habitat loss [22,23], the popu-
lation experienced a rapid decline from 3000 individuals in the 1950s down to less than
200 animals in 2019. The Malayan tiger population was estimated at 500 individuals in
1990 [24] and had declined to 250–340 individuals by 2013 [6]. Unfortunately, the drastic
trend has continued to nosedive to a critical level of near population crash. The estimated
wild Malayan tiger population in 2018 was fewer than 200 individuals [15] (Table 1). Thus,
the population lost approximately 60% of the wild Malayan tiger population in the last
three decades since 1990.
Table 1. Estimated wild Malayan Tiger population in Malaysia.
Year Estimate Population
/
Individuals Source
1950s 3000 Locke [25]
1982 250 Khan, et al. [26]
1986 650 Khan [27]
1990 500 Topani [24]
1991 400 Abidin, et al. [28]
2013 250–340 Kawanishi [6]
2018 200 Abdul Halim, Mustapha and Ibrahim [16]
Figure 3.
The implementation of the species strategic management plan and research procedures by
the institution.
Animals 2021,11, 1032 6 of 14
Animals 2021, 11, x 6 of 14
Figure 3. The implementation of the species strategic management plan and research procedures
by the institution.
Figure 4. The need for a conservation policy or strategy or a species management plan by the cap-
tive animal institution from the animal host country.
3.2. Anthropogenic Disturbances
Within about seven decades of persecution and prime habitat loss [22,23], the popu-
lation experienced a rapid decline from 3000 individuals in the 1950s down to less than
200 animals in 2019. The Malayan tiger population was estimated at 500 individuals in
1990 [24] and had declined to 250–340 individuals by 2013 [6]. Unfortunately, the drastic
trend has continued to nosedive to a critical level of near population crash. The estimated
wild Malayan tiger population in 2018 was fewer than 200 individuals [15] (Table 1). Thus,
the population lost approximately 60% of the wild Malayan tiger population in the last
three decades since 1990.
Table 1. Estimated wild Malayan Tiger population in Malaysia.
Year Estimate Population
/
Individuals Source
1950s 3000 Locke [25]
1982 250 Khan, et al. [26]
1986 650 Khan [27]
1990 500 Topani [24]
1991 400 Abidin, et al. [28]
2013 250–340 Kawanishi [6]
2018 200 Abdul Halim, Mustapha and Ibrahim [16]
Figure 4.
The need for a conservation policy or strategy or a species management plan by the captive
animal institution from the animal host country.
3.2. Anthropogenic Disturbances
Within about seven decades of persecution and prime habitat loss [
22
,
23
], the popu-
lation experienced a rapid decline from 3000 individuals in the 1950s down to less than
200 animals in 2019. The Malayan tiger population was estimated at 500 individuals in
1990 [
24
] and had declined to 250–340 individuals by 2013 [
6
]. Unfortunately, the drastic
trend has continued to nosedive to a critical level of near population crash. The estimated
wild Malayan tiger population in 2018 was fewer than 200 individuals [
15
] (Table 1). Thus,
the population lost approximately 60% of the wild Malayan tiger population in the last
three decades since 1990.
Table 1. Estimated wild Malayan Tiger population in Malaysia.
Year Estimate Population/Individuals Source
1950s 3000 Locke [25]
1982 250 Khan, et al. [26]
1986 650 Khan [27]
1990 500 Topani [24]
1991 400 Abidin, et al. [28]
2013 250–340 Kawanishi [6]
2018 200 Abdul Halim, Mustapha and Ibrahim [16]
3.3. Human-Wildlife Conflict and Roadkill
Considering the human–tiger conflict context, there were 652 cases of conflict recorded
during 2008–2019. The yearly trend reveals that the number of conflict cases is decreasing.
The conflict cases fluctuated from 86 cases per year in 2008 to 41 cases per year in 2019
(Table 2).
Viewing the data recorded from 2008–2019, the Department of Wildlife and National
Parks (DWNP) has captured four conflict tigers and lost one tiger due to accidental roadkill.
Malaysia also estimated that the country has lost approximately 39 tigers to illegal poaching
from 2008–2018 [29] (Table 2).
Between 2008–2019, there were 99,954 cases of human–wildlife conflicts recorded in
Malaysia, 652 cases involved the Malayan tigers (Table 2).
Animals 2021,11, 1032 7 of 14
Table 2. Human–Tiger Conflicts in Malaysia 2008–2019.
Year
Human-
Wildlife
Conflict (Case)
Human-Tiger
Conflict
(Cases) 1
Captured due
to Conflicts
(Individuals)
Infected by
Canine
Distemper
(Individuals)
Roadkill
(Individuals) 1
Estimate
Poached
(Individuals) 4
2008 13,652 86 NA NA 0 4
2009 13,244 82 NA NA 0 5
2010 9281 87 0.2.0 2NA 0 8
2011 8029 62 NA NA 0 6
2012 5602 65 NA NA 0 5
2013 5628 69 0.1.0 3NA 0 1
2014 6456 38 NA NA 0 0
2015 6236 29 NA NA 0 1
2016 6741 27 1.0.0 2NA 1 4
2017 7428 35 NA NA 0 2
2018 7902 31 NA NA 0 3
2019 9755 41 NA 1 0 NA
2020 NA NA NA 1 0 NA
Total 99,954 652 4 2 1 39
1
Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) [
30
],
2
Abdul Halim, Mustapha and Ibrahim [
16
],
3
DWNP [
31
],
4
Wong and
Krishnasamy [29], NA (Not available).
3.4. Roadkills
Regarding Peninsular Malaysia, there were 3386 cases of roadkills in nine years
(2011–2019).
The State of Johor recorded the highest roadkill numbers with 702 cases and
the lowest recorded was one case in the Federal Territory (Table 3).
Table 3. Wildlife roadkills in Malaysia from 2011 to 2019.
States 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Total
Perak 100 58 60 83 91 57 48 27 33 557
Johor 16 78 99 113 90 113 79 65 49 702
Kedah NA NA 126 192 98 62 58 43 30 609
Kelantan 27 8 1 6 6 30 19 13 8 118
Terengganu 1 43 35 26 101 104 23 36 43 412
Pahang 20 15 2 11 2 18 29 124 159 380
Selangor 3 63 25 9 1 NA 2 2 2 107
N. Sembilan NA NA 9 24 77 50 45 47 78 330
Perlis 6 NA 23 20 14 16 4 NA 1 84
Melaka NA NA 10 15 6 20 5 8 5 69
P.Pinang NA NA NA 3 5 5 3 NA 1 17
F. Territory NA 1 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 1
Total 173 266 390 502 491 475 315 365 409 3386
NA (not available).
The government of Malaysia provided RM2.5 million to purchase land for corridors,
habitat, rehabilitation, signs, road repairs, monitoring, and equipment (Table 4). The
total cost of constructing 20 bridges and viaducts is unknown, but the Sungai Yu was
RM89.9 million, Grik-Jeli RM60 million, and Pahang-Terengganu RM100 million.
Table 4. Estimated Total Development Cost.
Parameter MYR (Million) Percentage %
Primary linkages 1545.4 61.6
Secondary linkages 963.2 38.4
Total 2508.6 100.0
Data were adapted from the Department of Town and Country Planning (DTCP) [32].
Animals 2021,11, 1032 8 of 14
4. Discussion
Over the past eight decades, Malaysians witnessed the extinction of the Java rhinoceros
(Rhinoceros sondaicus) in 1932, the Banteng (Bos javanicus) in the 1950s, and the Sumatran
rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) in 2020 in Peninsular Malaysia [
7
,
33
38
]. The Malayan
tiger is now on the brink of a population crash due to the small and reproductively-isolated
individuals in fragmented habitats. A concerted effort is needed to protect the habitats,
improve the numbers of apparently doomed populations of the Malayan tiger, create
integrated captive breeding programmes, and ensure survivability for the next generations.
Based on these results and records, we articulated our concerns and proposed strategic
actions for the sustainable conservation of Malayan tigers over the next few decades.
4.1. Total Protection of Tiger Habitats
The in situ conservation policy of tiger conservation is well developed. Malaysia’s
National Tiger Conservation Action Plan (NTCAP) is among the earliest comprehensive
tiger actions in the region. The protection of forest habitat and the protection of tiger-prey
species are among the actions enlisted in the NTCAP. Malaysia recognised the importance
of the protected areas in biodiversity conservation and protection. All tiger habitats may
be considered protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act (WCA) 2010 as part of the
in situ conservation efforts, subject to agreements with the tiger range States within the
Federal Constitution’s determinations. To secure the tiger prey species, Malaysia has issued
a hunting moratorium on two main tiger prey species—the Sambar deer (Rusa unicolor)
and the barking deer (Muntiacus muntjac) until 2021 [
39
]. The authority may consider
implementing and extending the moratorium on hunting licenses to collect other wildlife
to control wildlife harvesting.
Regarding ex situ conservation, the study has noted 93.1% of the respondents agree
that scientific knowledge needs to be integrated into policy and practices (Figure 1). How-
ever, the integration of scientific knowledge for conservation policy and practice is still
low (15.4% of always integration) (Figure 2) for Malayan tigers. Thus, the conservation
community must carefully drive the Malayan tiger research and integrate the findings
into the tiger policy. Malaysia is to draft a wildlife conservation policy to act as a working
framework for wildlife management. The drafted policy shall revisit and insert a new
conservation policy related to the anthropogenic disturbances, human–wildlife conflict,
roadkill, and zoonotic diseases, that can save lives, protect livelihoods, and safeguard the
Malayan tiger.
The survey also indicates that Malaysia, as the origin country of the Malayan tiger,
needs to formulate a strategic plan (52% agreed) (Figure 3) to be followed by the global
captive tiger facilities worldwide (78.6% agreed) (Figure 4). Currently, the captive Malayan
tiger facilities play their roles based on their own interests and strong points. The authority
may produce an international strategic plan that includes both an in situ and ex situ action
plan. All zoos may use this plan to support the wild Malayan tiger population. Malaysia
acknowledges it is a challenge to guarantee the survival of all animals under the current
conditions of the natural habitats. However, Malaysia will continue to explore ways, using
ex situ measures, to conserve biodiversity amongst large breeding groups of animals in
zoos and captive animal facilities not only for tigers but, also, their prey species.
The Malayan tiger is listed under the Convention of International in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The CITES is an international agreement between
governments to provide a sustainable international trade platform [
40
]. Regarding the
national legislation, Malaysia gazetted the Malayan tiger in the International Trade in
Endangered Species Act 2008 [Act 686] on 14 February 2008 to smooth the implementation
of the Convention of International Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Act
686 provides a legal basis for the CITES implementation in the country [
41
] by regulating
the trade related to import and export. Concerning Peninsular Malaysia, the Wildlife
Conservation Act 2010 [WCA 2010] has given the highest protection status for the Malayan
Animals 2021,11, 1032 9 of 14
tiger. Permission from the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources is required to keep
the species.
The gazettement of Act, Enactment, and Ordinance in Malaysia has provided pro-
tection and conservation for the tiger [
42
,
43
]. However, there are a few challenges, for
example, the lack of institutional enforcement capacity, a lack of cooperation among law
enforcement agencies, and a lack of political will [
42
]. Those legal instruments need to be
updated regularly to integrate scientific knowledge into the conservation and protection of
the Malayan tiger (Figure 2).
4.2. Anthropogenic Activities (Mitigation Measures in Human–Tiger Conflicts)
Although studies show that the eco-certified logging concession in Peninsular Malaysia
can preserve some of the threatened mammal species [
44
], logging’s negative side effect
is alarming. The published report indicates the deforestation and biodiversity loss in
Southeast Asia is the highest in the world [
45
,
46
], and we are losing our quality wildlife
habitats. The concern arises further as it is reported that poaching (including snare trap-
ping) of large felids and other species is increasing in Malaysia [
29
,
47
]. The national wildlife
conflicts record also indicates that conflicts are unstable, and it is on an escalating trend
over the last eight years (2012–2019) (Table 2). However, the human–tiger conflict shows a
decreasing trend from 86 cases in 2008 to 41 cases in 2019, compared to the 84 human–tiger
conflict cases in 1991 and 211 cases in 2002 [
48
]. The human–tiger conflict occurs when
tigers pose a threat to the local communities’ livelihoods and safety, which leads to the
ill-treatment of the species [
49
]. The frequency of conflicts indicates that tigers are getting
closer to human settlement or human activities that might arise due to a prey shortage
in the forest [
6
]. The decreasing trend is an alarm bell as the Malayan tiger population
drops significantly–the trend indicating that we are losing our precious Malayan tiger.
The authority needs to step up the mitigation measures by reviewing the moratorium on
hunting, including reviewing the issuing of hunting licenses to secure Malayan tiger prey
species. However, hunting licenses are still necessary for the case of human–wild boar
conflicts and for research purposes.
The animals will cross the road either for water, food, shelter, mates, or nesting
sites, but road networks and fast-moving traffic have become dangerous. Roads and fast-
moving traffic have killed a lot of wildlife, leading to local population losses [
50
53
]. The
construction of road networks is the major contributor to the death of wildlife. Although
there are 20 bridges and viaducts constructed [
50
] in Peninsular Malaysia, Peninsular
Malaysia lost a Malayan tiger due to roadkill (Table 2) (Figure 5). Studies show that
combining mitigation measures such as viaducts and fences has reduced roadkill [
54
].
Thus, the wildlife authority, highway authority, and road caretakers may need to step up
and combine several mitigation measures to reduce roadkills.
During 2019, canine distemper disease infected the Malayan tiger, and the infectious
disease may threaten the tiger population [
55
]. Malaysia has lost two wild Malayan tigers
to the deadly canine distemper [
8
,
9
]. The first deadly canine distemper was reported on
19 July 2019
in a wild male Malayan tiger in Kampung Besul, Terengganu. The Department
of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) managed to retrieve the individual tiger and
provide various treatments but, sadly, the male tiger died on 23 July 2019 [
8
]. The second
Malayan tiger was discovered dead at Ladang Aramijaya, Mersing Johor, on 1 May 2020,
possibly due to canine distemper [
9
]. The canine distemper source cannot be confirmed
but it is believed that the disease source is from other animals [
8
]. The newest deadly
disease detected to infect the Malayan tiger is COVID-19. COVID-19 is a new pandemic
disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19 virus) [
56
]. COVID-19 was detected
in the captive Malayan tiger on the 5 April 2020 in the Bronx Zoo, New York, United States
of America [
10
,
57
59
]. The positive incidence of COVID-19 in the USA is very alarming
for the local wildlife authority regarding the control of zoonotic pathogens jumping from
humans to tigers in Malaysia [
12
]. The wild Malayan tiger population is at a crossroad,
with confirmed canine distemper disease and potential COVID-19, for future survivability.
Animals 2021,11, 1032 10 of 14
The threats of canine distemper disease and COVID-19 can threaten Peninsular Malaysia’s
seven cat species, including the Malayan tiger, in Malaysia’s natural habitat and zoos [
11
,
12
].
Both canine distemper and COVID-19 are critical issues to Malayan tiger conservation.
The nature of transmission of COVID-19 from human to animal will significantly impact
the Malayan tiger populations. Once the disease reaches the wild Malayan tiger in the
forest, COVID-19 can spread among them [
60
,
61
]. Until the impact of COVID-19 on the
Malayan tiger is available, Malaysia is suggested to review and follow the zoonotic disease
preventive control measures strictly. Avoiding or minimising interaction between domestic
animal reservoir hosts and endangered wildlife species is a strategy to curb the spreading
of infectious diseases [
62
,
63
]. The villagers, as animal hunters, are the potential COVID-19
carriers. Thus, to manage COVID-19, the authority needs to control human–tiger conflict
cases effectively. Tightened and effective mitigation measures are needed to control the
spreading rate of canine distemper and COVID-19 to buy time until the emergence of
COVID-19 vaccines [12].
Figure 5.
The female Malayan tiger was hit and killed by a high-speed vehicle along East Coast High-
way 2 on 7 February 2016. Possibly due to the poor maintenance of highway fencing. (Photograph
@Ahmad Ikhwan Zainuddin).
4.3. Professional Staff and High Technology
The present research on tigers uses labour-intensive methods by counting and com-
paring tracks of vital activities (counting direct or indirect signs) [
44
,
64
] and using remote
tracking or specialised equipment (camera traps) [
44
,
65
67
]. To improve the current meth-
ods, the country’s researchers may consider remote wireless biosensor network technology
to detect volatile organic compounds released from the tiger urine and faeces. The current
development of wireless biosensor technology can differentiate between humans and a
large cat [
68
]. These large-scale networks (deploying small biosensor devices) claim to be
able to gather information from the physical environment (temperature, sound, chemicals,
seismic waves, infrared, still and motion video camera, or the presence of certain objects)
and perform simple processing [
68
]. The remote system could provide early warning to
the ground crew to provide real-time tracking to arrest poachers within the vicinity of the
tiger habitats.
5. Constraints
We distributed the questionnaire before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The questions in the survey were mostly designed from the standard for animal ex situ
management. We were aware that the questionnaire feedback was limited. There are
48 captive animal facilities globally, and ten facilities in Malaysia that own Malayan tigers.
We attempted to reach out to all the facilities but only managed to gather responses from
14 facilities with 30 respondents. This study provides an early indication of ex situ Malayan
tiger management as a basis for an expanded questionnaire study.
Animals 2021,11, 1032 11 of 14
6. Conclusions
The habitat protection, sustainable financing, inclusive species policy, strategic plan,
and action plan in situ and ex situ are the essential ingredients for successful Malayan
tiger survival to avert possible extinction. Aside from managing the wild and captive
populations, Malaysia needs to address the threat of infectious disease (canine distemper
and COVID-19) to the Malayan tiger. Malaysia’s wildlife authority needs to move swiftly
to protect and avoid the critically endangered Malayan tiger from being infected and
falling into the COVID-19 chain. The Malayan tiger conservationists need to continue
collaborating, supporting, and co-managing its ex situ management as part of assisting and
increasing its wild Malayan tiger population. Malaysia needs to set an integrated strategy
for sustainable conservation of all the wildlife, including the Malayan tiger as a keystone
species. Additionally, the authority also could explore, modify, and adapt the Giant Panda
conservation model’s sustainable financing mechanism. The Giant Panda conservation
efforts to bring the species back from extinction risk have proved that its conservation
model is successful and workable [69,70].
Malaysia is working toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs), designed to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy
peace and prosperity by 2030 and achieve the SDG 15. The SDG 15
0
s goal is to protect,
restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests,
halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss. Future research should
identify potential sites for reintroduction of Malayan tigers in protected areas. Alternatively,
intensive management of the wild population could be established in an electrified fenced
area. These areas could ensure the biosecurity of the genetic pool could be closely monitored
while effectively controlling the biosafety against emerging infectious diseases or pandemic.
Supplementary Materials:
The following are available online at https://www.mdpi.com/article/
10.3390/ani11041032/s1, Supplementary File 1: The detailed information about the questionnaire.
Upon request, information can be obtained from the corresponding authors, Supplementary File 2:
The analysed data for the questionnaire survey.
Author Contributions:
Conceptualization, D.C.Y.T. and M.T.A.; methodology, D.C.Y.T., S.S. and
M.T.A.; software, D.C.Y.T. and R.J.; validation, D.C.Y.T. and S.S.; formal analysis, D.C.Y.T., S.S.
and M.T.A.; investigation, S.S.; resources, D.C.Y.T., S.S. and A.K.A.H.; data curation, D.C.Y.T., S.S.
and M.T.A.; writing—original draft preparation, D.C.Y.T. and M.T.A.; writing—review and editing,
M.T.A., R.J. and N.H.H.; supervision, R.J., N.H.H. and M.T.A.; and funding acquisition, A.K.A.H. All
authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.
Funding:
This research was funded by Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (KeTSA) Malaysia
through Giant Panda Research Consortium Malaysia leads by Mohd Tajuddin Abdullah of the
Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, grant number KPGPM/UMT/53161.
Institutional Review Board Statement:
The study (questionnaire survey) is registered under Univer-
sity of Malaya and compile to the rules and regulations set under the University of Malaya Research
Ethics Committee with reference number UM.TNC 2/UMREC -239.
Informed Consent Statement:
Not applicable. This research is not directed to human as it is on the
management aspects of the tigers in the zoos.
Data Availability Statement:
Data are reported in the Results and Supplementary Materials sections
of this paper. Upon request, additional information can be obtained from the corresponding authors.
Acknowledgments:
We also thank the Director-General of Department of Wildlife and National
Parks (DWNP) Peninsular Malaysia, for research permission and invaluable assistance. We are
thankful to Dato’ Dionysius S.K. Sharma for providing tiger-related unpublished manuscripts. We
also acknowledged the critical comments by three anonymous reviewers who had significantly
improved the presentation of this final draft manuscript.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Animals 2021,11, 1032 12 of 14
References
1.
DWNP. National Tiger Action Plan for Malaysia; Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia Kuala Lumpur:
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2008; p. 93.
2. Wilkinson, R.J. Some Malay studies. J. Malay. Branch Royal Asiat. Soc. 1932,10, 67–137.
3. Winstedt, R.O. The Malay annals. J. Malay. Branch Royal Asiat. Soc. 1938,16, 1–226.
4.
Chua, A. Tales from the Malay Annals: A Brief Introduction. Available online: https://museumvolunteersjmm.com/2020/04/10
/tales-from-the-malay-annals-a-brief-introduction/ (accessed on 18 June 2020).
5. Wallace, A.R. The Malay Archipelago, 10th ed.; MacMillan and Co: London, UK, 1890.
6.
Kawanishi, K. Panthera tigris ssp. jacksoni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: E.T136893A50665029. Downloaded
13 June 2017. Available online: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/136893/50665029 (accessed on 13 June 2017).
7.
Clements, R.; Rayan, D.M.; Zafir, A.W.A.; Venkataraman, A.; Alfred, R.; Payne, J.; Ambu, L.; Sharma, D.S.K. Trio under threat:
Can we secure the future of rhinos, elephants and tigers in Malaysia? Biodivers. Conserv. 2010,19, 1115–1136. [CrossRef]
8.
DWNP. Awang Besul’ The Tiger Dies. Available online: https://harimau.my/awang-besul-the-tiger-dies/ (accessed on 16 April 2020).
9.
DWNP. Tragis, Harimau Belang Ditemukan Mati. Available online: https://harimau.my/tragis-harimau- belang-ditemukan-
mati/ (accessed on 30 April 2020).
10.
Daly, N. Seven More Big Cats Test Positive for Coronavirus at Bronx Zoo. Available online: https://www.nationalgeographic.
com/animals/2020/04/tiger-coronavirus-covid19-positive-test-bronx-zoo/ (accessed on 23 May 2020).
11.
Ten, D.C.Y.; Abdullah, M.T. Commentary on COVID-19 a threats to wildlife management. J. Sustain. Sci. Manag.
2021
. In review.
12.
Ten, D.C.Y.; Edinur, H.A.; Jani, R.; Hashim, N.H.; Abdullah, M.T. COVID-19 and the Malaysian zoo preventive measures readiness.
J. Sustain. Sci. Manag. 2021,16, 46–54. [CrossRef]
13.
DWNP. Red List of Mammals for Peninsular Malaysia Version 2.0; Department of Wildlife and National Parks: Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia, 2017.
14.
Sanderson, E.W.; Forrest, J.; Loucks, C.; Ginsberg, J.; Dinerstein, E.; Seidensticker, J.; Leimgruber, P.; Songer, M.; Heydlauff, A.;
O’Brien, T.; et al. Setting priorities for Tiger Conservation: 2005–2015. In Tigers of the World: The Science, Politics and Conservation of
Panthera Tigris, 2nd ed.; Tilson, R., Nyhus, P.J., Eds.; Academic Press: London, UK, 2010; pp. 144–161.
15. DWNP. Harimau Malaya. Available online: https://harimau.my/ (accessed on 6 August 2019).
16.
Halim, H.R.A.; Mustapha, N.; Ibrahim, N.L. The Story of Malayan Tiger, 2nd ed.; Department of Wildlife and National Parks:
Cheras, Malaysia, 2019.
17.
Rayan, D.M.; Linkie, M. Conserving tigers in Malaysia: A science-driven approach for eliciting conservation policy change. Biol.
Conserv. 2015,184, 18–26. [CrossRef]
18. Daim, N.; Harun, H.N. Tigers extinct by 2022? New Straits Times, 4 July 2019.
19.
Mueller, P. Malayan Tigers (Panthera Tigris Tigris Pop Jacksoni) Studbook; WAZA and Zoologischer Garten: Leipzig, Germany, 2017.
20.
Creswell, J.W. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, 3rd ed.; SAGE Publications: Thousand
Oaks, CA, USA, 2009.
21.
Creswell, J.W. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, 4th ed.; SAGE Publications: Thousand
Oaks, CA, USA, 2014.
22.
Sharma, D.S.K.; Brian Lee, M.S.; Mohd-Azlan, J.; Ahmad Zafir, A.W. Living In Harmony: Resolving Conflicts between People and
Tigers at FELDA Jerangau Barat, Peninsular Malaysia; WWF-Malaysia: Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, 2006; p. 46.
23.
Shevade, V.; Potapov, P.; Harris, N.; Loboda, T. Expansion of industrial plantations continues to threaten Malayan Tiger habitat.
Remote Sens. 2017,9, 747. [CrossRef]
24. Topani, R. Status and distribution of tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti). J. Wildl. Parks 1990,9, 71–102.
25. Locke, A. The Tigers of Terengganu; Museum Press Limited: London, UK, 1954.
26.
Khan, M.M.K.; Sivananthan, T.E.; Zolkifli, Z. Species conservation in the tropical forest in Peninsular Malaysia. In Proceedings of
the 58th Meeting of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Symposium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 4 October 1982; pp. 9–16.
27. Khan, M.M.K. Tigers in Malaysia: Propects for the future. J. Wildl. Parks 1986,5, 1–24.
28.
Abidin, Z.Z.; Abdullah, M.T.; Yusof, E. Large mammals in peninsular Malaysia. In The Status of Nature Conservation in Malaysia;
Kiew, R., Ed.; Malayan Nature Society; International Development and Research Centre of Canana: Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, 1991;
pp. 173–176.
29.
Wong, R.; Krishnasamy, K. Skin and Bones Unresolved: An Analysis of Tiger Seizures from 2000–2019; TRAFFIC Southeast Asia
Regional Office: Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, 2019.
30.
DWNP. Wildlife Conflict Data of 2008–2019; Salman, S., Ed.; Department of Wildlife and National Parks: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2020.
31. DWNP. Malayan Tiger an Iconic National Treasure; Department of Wildlife and National Parks: Cheras, Malaysia, 2015.
32.
DTCP. Laporan Akhir Central Forest Spine Pelan Induk Rangkaian Ekologi. Available online: https://dokumen.tips/download/
link/laporan-akhir-central-forest-spine- pelan-induk- rangkaian-ekologi- laporan-akhir (accessed on 1 February 2021).
33.
Flynn, R.W.; Abdullah, M.T. Distribution and status of the Sumatran rhinoceros in Peninsular Malaysia. Biol. Conserv.
1984
,
28, 253–273. [CrossRef]
34.
Flynn, R.W.; Abdullah, M.T. Distribution and number of Sumatran rhinoceros in the Endau-Rompin region of peninsular Malaysia.
Malay. Nat. J. 1983,36, 219–247.
Animals 2021,11, 1032 13 of 14
35.
Abdullah, M.T. A Sumatran Rhinoceros Conservation Plan for the Endau-Rompin National Park, Malaysia; West Virginia University:
Morgantown, WV, USA, 1985.
36.
Ahmad, A.H.; Payne, J.; Zainuddin, Z.Z. Preventing the extinction of the Sumatran rhinoceros. J. Indones. Nat. Hist.
2013
,1, 11–22.
37. Bittel, J. Last Sumatran rhino in Malaysia dies. National Geographic, 24 November 2019.
38.
Havmøller, R.G.; Payne, J.; Ramono, W.; Ellis, S.; Yoganand, K.; Long, B.; Dinerstein, E.; Williams, A.C.; Putra, R.H.; Gawi, J.; et al.
Will current conservation responses save the Critically Endangered Sumatran rhinoceros Dicerorhinus sumatrensis?Oryx
2016
,
50, 355–359. [CrossRef]
39.
CHM. Malaysia 6th National Report for the Convention on Biological Diversity. Available online: https://chm.cbd.int/pdf/
documents/nationalReport6/249273/1 (accessed on 15 June 2020).
40. CITES. What is CITES? Available online: https://www.cites.org/eng/disc/what.php (accessed on 29 May 2020).
41.
Parliament of Malaysia. International Trade in Endangered Species Act; Parliament of Malaysia, Ed.; Attorney General’s Chambers of
Malaysia: Putrajaya, Malaysia, 2008; Volume 686.
42. Mariani, A. Recent challenges for the enforcement of wildlife laws in East Malaysia. Pertanika J. Soc. Sci. Humanit. 2018,26, 167–180.
43. Mariani, A. Enforcement against wildlife crimes in West Malaysia: The challenges. J. Sustain. Sci. Manag. 2015,10, 19–26.
44.
Clements, G.R.; Rostro-Garcia, S.; Kamler, J.F.; Liang, S.H.; Abu Hashim, A.K. Conservation status of large mammals in protected
and logged forests of the greater Taman Negara Landscape, Peninsular Malaysia. Biodiversitas J. Biol. Divers.
2021
,22, 272–277.
[CrossRef]
45.
Heino, M.; Kummu, M.; Makkonen, M.; Mulligan, M.; Verburg, P.H.; Jalava, M.; Räsänen, T.A. Forest loss in protected areas and
intact forest landscapes: A global analysis. PLoS ONE 2015,10, e0138918. [CrossRef]
46. Hughes, A.C. Understanding the drivers of Southeast Asian biodiversity loss. Ecosphere 2017,8, e01624. [CrossRef]
47. Belecky, M.; Gray, T.N.E. Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’s Snaring Crisis; WWF International: Gland, Switzerland, 2020.
48. Md Shariff, B.A. The trend of tiger-human conflicts in Peninsular Malaysia from 1991 to 2003. J. Wildl. Parks 2003,21, 103–109.
49. Goodrich, J.M. Human–tiger conflict: A review and call for comprehensive plans. Integr. Zool. 2010,5, 300–312. [CrossRef]
50.
Kasmuri, N.; Nazar, N.; Mohd Yazid, A.Z. Human and animals conflicts: A case study of wildlife roadkill in Malaysia. Environ.
Behav. Proc. J. 2020,5, 315–322. [CrossRef]
51.
Grilo, C.; Koroleva, E.; Andrášik, R.; Bíl, M.; González-Suárez, M. Roadkill risk and population vulnerability in European birds
and mammals. Front. Ecol. Environ. 2020,18, 323–328. [CrossRef]
52.
Kamil, S.K.S.M.; Zainuddin, Z.Z.; Abidin, F.A.Z. Roadkill of a flat-headed cat in Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia. CATnews
2011
,54, 12–13.
53.
Jamhuri, J.; Edinoor, M.A.; Kamarudin, N.; Lechner, A.M.; Ashton-Butt, A.; Azhar, B. Higher mortality rates for large- and
medium-sized mammals on plantation roads compared to highways in Peninsular Malaysia. Ecol. Evol.
2020
,10, 12049–12058.
[CrossRef] [PubMed]
54.
Rytwinski, T.; Soanes, K.; Jaeger, J.A.G.; Fahrig, L.; Findlay, C.S.; Houlahan, J.; van der Ree, R.; van der Grift, E.A. How effective is
road mitigation at reducing road-kill? A meta-analysis. PLoS ONE 2016,11, e0166941. [CrossRef]
55. Sim, L.L. Malayan tigers face new threat: Extinction-level virus could wipe them out. The Star, 21 April 2020.
56.
OIE. Questions and Answers on the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). Available online: https://www.oie.int/en/scientific-
expertise/specific-information-and-recommendations/questions-and-answers-on-2019novel-coronavirus/ (accessed on 26 April 2020).
57. McGreevy, N. A Tiger in the Bronx Zoo tested positive for COVID-19. Smithsonian Magazine, 8 April 2020.
58. WCS. Update: Bronx Zoo Tigers and Lions Recovering from COVID-19. WCS Newroom, 22 April 2020.
59. USDA. USDA Statement on the Confirmation of COVID-19 in a Tiger in New York. Available online: https://www.aphis.usda.
gov/aphis/newsroom/news/sa_by_date/sa-2020/ny-zoo-covid-19 (accessed on 28 May 2020).
60.
Kim, Y.-I.; Kim, S.-G.; Kim, S.-M.; Kim, E.-H.; Park, S.-J.; Yu, K.-M.; Chang, J.-H.; Kim, E.J.; Lee, S.; Casel, M.A.B.; et al. Infection
and rapid transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in ferrets. Cell Host Microbe 2020,27, 704–709. [CrossRef]
61.
Halfmann, P.J.; Hatta, M.; Chiba, S.; Maemura, T.; Fan, S.; Takeda, M.; Kinoshita, N.; Hattori, S.-I.; Sakai-Tagawa, Y.;
Iwatsuki-Horimoto, K.; et al. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in domestic cats. N. Engl. J. Med. 2020. [CrossRef]
62. Woodroffe, R. Managing disease threats to wild mammals. Anim. Conserv. 1999,2, 185–193. [CrossRef]
63.
Pedersen, A.B.; Jones, K.E.; Nunn, C.L.; Altizer, S. Infectious diseases and extinction risk in wild mammals. Conserv. Biol.
2007
,
21, 1269–1279. [CrossRef]
64.
Gumal, M.; Abu Bakar, M.S.; Mohd Nawayai, Y.; Horng, L.H.; Lee, B.P.Y.; Low, C.P.; Hasnizam, H.; Kong, D.; Magintan, D.;
Ten, D.C.Y.; et al. Small-medium wild cats of Endau Rompin landscape in Johor, Peninsular Malaysia. CATnews 2014,8, 10–18.
65.
Tan, C.K.W.; Rocha, D.G.; Clements, G.R.; Brenes-Mora, E.; Hedges, L.; Kawanishi, K.; Mohamad, S.W.; Mark Rayan, D.;
Bolongon, G.;
Moore, J.; et al. Habitat use and predicted range for the mainland clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa in Peninsular
Malaysia. Biol. Conserv. 2017,206, 65–74. [CrossRef]
66.
Kawanishi, K.; Clements, G.R.; Gumal, M.; Goldthorpe, G.; Yasak, M.N.; Sharma, D.S.K. Using BAD for good: How best available
data facilitated a precautionary policy change to improve protection of the prey of the tiger Panthera tigris in Malaysia. Oryx
2013,47, 420–426. [CrossRef]
67.
Jambari, A.; Rafhan, H.; Halim, A.; Saharudin, H.; Seman, F.; Samsuddin, S.; Syahid, I.; Azmi, M.; Amirin, K.; Pazil, M.; et al.
Play-fighting between wild female Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris ssp. jacksoni) and cub in Taman Negara National Park, Peninsular
Malaysia. J. Wildl. Parks 2016,31, 71–74. [CrossRef]
Animals 2021,11, 1032 14 of 14
68.
Badescu, A.-M.; Cotofana, L. A wireless sensor network to monitor and protect tigers in the wild. Ecol. Indic.
2015
,57, 447–451.
[CrossRef]
69. Swaisgood, R.R.; Wang, D.; Wei, F. Panda downlisted but not out of the woods. Conserv. Lett. 2017,11, 1–9. [CrossRef]
70.
Swaisgood, R.R.; Wei, F.; Mcshea, W.J.; Wildt, D.E.; Kouba, A.J.; Zhang, Z. Can science save the giant panda (Ailuropoda
melanoleuca)? Unifying science and policy in an adaptive management paradigm. Integr. Zool. 2011,6, 290–296. [CrossRef]
... The Malayan tiger (P. tigris jacksoni), the only other tiger subspecies found in mainland Southeast Asia, also is experiencing a population crash and is heading toward extinction due to illegal killings and habitat loss (Ten et al., 2021). ...
Article
Full-text available
In Southeast Asia, conservation of 'Vulnerable' clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa) and 'Endangered' tigers (Panthera tigris) might depend on the management of their preferred prey because large felid populations are limited by the availability of suitable prey. However, the diet of clouded leopards has never been determined, so the preferred prey of this felid remains unknown. The diet of tigers in the region has been studied only from one protected-area complex in western Thailand, but prey preferences were not determined. To better understand the primary and preferred prey of threatened felids, we used DNA-confirmed scats and prey surveys to determine the diet and prey selection of clouded leopards and tigers in a hilly evergreen forest in northern Laos. For clouded leopards, the primary prey was wild pig (Sus scrofa; 33% biomass consumed), followed by greater hog badger (Arctonyx collaris; 28%), small rodents (15%), and mainland serow (Capricornis sumatraensis; 13%; hereafter, serow). For tigers, the primary prey was wild pig (44%), followed by serow (18%), sambar (Rusa unicolor; 12%), and Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus; 10%). Compared to availability, serow was positively selected by both clouded leopards (D = 0.69) and tigers (0.61), whereas all other ungulate species were consumed in proportion to the availability or avoided. Our results indicate that clouded leopards are generalist predators with a wide prey spectrum. Nonetheless, mid-sized ungulates (50-150 kg) comprised nearly half of their diet, and were the preferred prey, supporting a previous hypothesis that the enlarged gape and elongated canines of clouded leopards are adaptations for killing large prey. Because serow was the only ungulate preferred by both felids, we recommend that serow populations be monitored and managed to help conservation efforts for clouded leopards and tigers, at least in hilly evergreen forests of Southeast Asia.
Article
Full-text available
Malaysia has a significant amount of biodiversity and has developed protected areas to conserve and sustain this tremendous degree of biodiversity. A protected area is known for its recognized natural, ecological or cultural values. However, the protected areas confront many obstacles, including poor or non-existent management plans. Remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can help with the speedy and cost-effective identification of biodiversity and environmentally sensitive areas. WebGIS (Web-based GIS) is useful for simplifying complicated geographical and temporal data on biodiversity such as the existence of threatened species, protected areas, and as well as on socially and environmentally significant ecosystem services. This study aimed to produce a WebGIS platform for Krau Wildlife Reserve (KWR) protected area using geospatial remote sensing and GIS data. The developed WebGIS played an important role in evaluating human activities near KWR that may impact the ecology and result in the extinction of natural habitats.
Article
Full-text available
Abstract: The COVID-19 virus is a zoonotic disease, an infectious disease caused by a pathogen (an infectious agent, such as a bacterium, virus, parasite or prion) that has jumped from an animal (usually a vertebrate) to a human. It was declared a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO) on January 30, 2020. The COVID-19 virus is also a zooanthroponosis, that can be transmitted from human to animals. Malaysia has seven wild cats’ species and five mustelids which can be found in the forests of Peninsular Malaysia as well as in captivity, in zoos and conservation facilities. Human beings have the potential to spread the COVID-19 virus to wild mustelids and big cat species, which may threaten its populations in Peninsular Malaysia. The authorities must respond swiftly during the zoonotic phase and post-zoonotic contingency phase, with stringent policies and guidelines to control the spread of the disease into natural forest habitats that may threaten the mustelids and cat populations. Keywords: Biodiversity, COVID-19, Malaysia, tropical rain forest, SARS-CoV-2, zooanthroponosis, zoonotic diseases.
Article
Full-text available
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is due to SARS-CoV-2 and is spreading into 215 countries in the world. The COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease, and human to human transmission is possible via direct and indirect contact with infected individuals and contaminated surfaces. Recently, captive species of wild cats were tested positive for the COVID-19, and this is evidence of possible transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from human to animal, i.e., zooanthroponosis. In particular, the zoos should reduce the risk of introducing SARS-CoV-2 to the captive animals from the tourists or their workers. The risks can be reduced by implementing the preventive measure responses following the emergence of zoonotic disease. In this commentary article, we provide the existing disease control measures and have proposed several other preventive measures for the management of zooanthroponosis in various zoos located in Peninsular Malaysia. Keywords: Post-COVID-19, zoonotic diseases, ex situ conservation, wildlife management policy, sustainability
Article
Full-text available
Clements GR, Rostro-García S, Kamler JF, Liang SH, Hashim AKBA. 2021. Conservation status of large mammals in protected and logged forests of the greater Taman Negara Landscape, Peninsular Malaysia. Biodiversitas 22: 272-277. Peninsular Malaysia contains a large community of IUCN Threatened mammal species, although recent records in some protected areas is unknown. The greater Taman Negara Landscape is one of the national priority areas for tiger conservation, but the recent occurrence of large mammals in the landscape has not been sufficiently updated. Here, we conducted systematic camera-trap surveys in protected and logged forests of the Taman Negara Landscape: Merapoh in Taman Negara National Park (TNM), and the Dungun Timber Complex (DTC), respectively. We found that the diversity of large mammals in TNM appeared to be the same between 2000 and 2016. The detection frequencies (DF) of several Threatened species, such as Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni), dhole (Cuon alpinus), and Malayan pangolin (Manis javanica), were similar between surveys, suggesting the relative abundance of these species likely remained stable during the past 16 years. However, the DF of Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) and Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus) were lower compared to 2000. In DTC, overall mammalian diversity was relatively lower than in TNM, primarily due to the non-detection of two large ungulates: gaur (Bos gaurus) and sambar (Rusa unicolor). Nevertheless, we recorded several other Threatened species of mammals, suggesting there is potential for this forest reserve to preserve some of Peninsular Malaysia's most Threatened mammal species. Our results suggest that the Taman Negara Landscape is still an important global site for the conservation of several Threatened species, and we recommend an increase in wildlife law enforcement efforts to ensure the survival of its large and diverse mammalian community.
Article
Full-text available
The fragmentation of forests by agricultural expansion, urbanization, and road networks is an ongoing global biodiversity crisis. In Southeast Asia and other tropical regions, wildlife populations are being isolated into pockets of natural habitat surrounded by road networks and monoculture plantations. Mortality from wildlife–vehicle collisions (WVCs) is contributing to a decline in many species of conservation priority in human‐modified landscapes. This study is the first in Malaysia to investigate factors affecting the occurrence of WVCs. We assessed roadkill data gathered by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks on small‐, medium‐, and large‐sized mammals in Peninsular Malaysia. We examined the relationship between wildlife road accidents and several environmental factors. We found a total of 605 roadkill animals, involving 21 species, which included three species classified as Endangered. Road type (plantation road or highway), year, and distance of the road from continuous and fragmented forests were significant in determining mammal mortality. Unexpectedly, the majority of road mortality occurred on palm oil plantation roads compared to highways. Mortality of small‐ and medium‐sized mammals was greater at locations further from continuous forest than those closer to fragmented forests. Segmentation of continuous forest by roads should be avoided wherever possible to reduce the threat of roads on crossing wildlife. Wildlife populations are being isolated into forest patches surrounded by roads. The majority of road mortality occurred on plantation roads compared to highways. Road type, altitude, and distance from forest were major drivers of mortality.
Article
Full-text available
Conflicts between humans and animals have been a challenge due to rapid urbanization. Most of the forest is cleared to build roads and highway. Thus, animals need to migrate or move for their survival. This paper aims to review wildlife roadkill data from PERHILITAN and arranged it under several groups of species. Here, quantitative analysis of the roadkill data is used to select one species as the primary subject (Malayan Tapir). It has been observed that Malayan Tapir has involved in 68 vehicle collisions with a total loss of RM6.8 million in 5 years. From these results, long-term mitigation measures have been addressed in this study. Keywords: human; road construction; wildlife roadkill; mitigationeISSN: 2398-4287 © 2020. The Authors. Published for AMER ABRA cE-Bs by e-International Publishing House, Ltd., UK. This is an open access article under the CC BYNC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/). Peer–review under responsibility of AMER (Association of Malaysian Environment-Behaviour Researchers), ABRA (Association of Behavioural Researchers on Asians) and cE-Bs (Centre for Environment-Behaviour Studies), Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia.
Article
Full-text available
Law enforcement is one of the weakest links in wildlife conservation. This paper analyses the main challenges facing wildlife law enforcement in East Malaysia and identifies the enforcement strategy used by wildlife officers in the region. To these ends, a questionnaire was distributed to the wildlife officers. The study found that the respondents tended towards deterrence strategy in enforcing the laws which focuses on detecting and punishing violations. The study also revealed that the primary challenge facing the wildlife enforcement officers was lack of institutional capacity. This was reflected by problems related to inadequate equipment, facilities, limited manpower and lack of skills. Other major challenges highlighted by the respondents were lack of cooperation from the public and other enforcement agencies, lack of political will and threats from the regulated parties. The findings of the study contribute to a greater understanding of the main enforcement strategy used by wildlife officers in East Malaysia and highlight challenges they encountered in undertaking their duties. These insights provide useful information into developing better informed capacity-building programme for the wildlife officers and for decision-makers at state and federal level in determining allocation or other provision for the wildlife authorities.
Article
Roads represent a threat to biodiversity, primarily through increased mortality from collisions with vehicles. Although estimating roadkill rates is an important first step, how roads affect long‐term population persistence must also be assessed. We developed a trait‐based model to predict roadkill rates for terrestrial bird and mammalian species in Europe and used a generalized population model to estimate their long‐term vulnerability to road mortality. We found that ~194 million birds and ~29 million mammals may be killed each year on European roads. The species that were predicted to experience the highest mortality rates due to roads were not necessarily the same as those whose long‐term persistence was most vulnerable to road mortality. When evaluating which species or areas could be most affected by road development projects, failure to consider how roadkill affects populations may result in misidentifying appropriate targets for mitigation.
Article
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in China and rapidly spread worldwide. To prevent SARS-CoV-2 dissemination, understanding the in vivo characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 is a high priority. We report a ferret model of SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission that recapitulates aspects of human disease. SARS-CoV-2-infected ferrets exhibit elevated body temperatures and virus replication. Although fatalities were not observed, SARS-CoV-2-infected ferrets shed virus in nasal washes, saliva, urine, and feces up to 8 days post-infection. At 2 days post-contact, SARS-CoV-2 was detected in all naive direct contact ferrets. Furthermore, a few naive indirect contact ferrets were positive for viral RNA, suggesting airborne transmission. Viral antigens were detected in nasal turbinate, trachea, lungs, and intestine with acute bronchiolitis present in infected lungs. Thus, ferrets represent an infection and transmission animal model of COVID-19 that may facilitate development of SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics and vaccines.