In light of the dwindling population of Malayan tigers, Siti Hasmah – wife of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad – has called upon Malaysians to help preserve the endangered species.
Speaking at the launch of the Global Tiger Day 2019 on Sunday (July 28), she said there were fewer than 200 Malayan tigers left in the country, Malay Mail reported.
According to Free Malaysia Today, Malayan tigers have a unique genetic make-up compared with other Asian tigers, and are classified as critically endangered under the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Siti Hasmah, patron for the “Save the Malayan Tiger” campaign, was quoted by New Straits Times (NST) as saying: “We must not forget that the Malayan tiger is a symbol of our nation’s Jata Negara (coat of arms). We cannot let it go extinct.”
She added: “I hope, during my two-year tenure as the patron of the Save Our Malayan Tiger Campaign, I will be able to ensure an increase in the Malayan tiger population to 500.”
Malay Mail reported that as part of the two-year campaign, a Biodiversity Conservation Trust Fund has been established by the Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources.
Companies and other agencies can contribute to this fund for the enforcement, conservation and awareness activities of the campaign.
NST reported that the campaign has since collected RM1.34 million (US$325,124) in donations.
To help ensure that the species does not become extinct, the government has also declared a war on poachers as its national agenda, Malay Mail noted.
Meeting a tiger up close her “lifelong dream”
During her speech, Siti Hasmah revealed that she recently named three Malayan tiger cubs – Wira, Hebat and Melur – after a face-to-face encounter with them at Zoo Negara, NST reported.
Describing tigers as “beautiful” and “majestic” animals, Siti Hasmah said it was her lifelong dream to see one up close.
NST quoted her saying: “They were so adorable, but whenever I tried to inch closer to the cubs, the female cub, especially, would start roaring at me.”