‘Prioritise Wildlife Education’

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Funds should be set aside under Budget 2024 for nature clubs in schools, research and academic events, as well as to tackle the low Malayan Tiger population, say environmental groups.

Malaysian Nature Society president Vincent Chow said students today lack a connection to nature, and understanding nature will help foster a greater appreciation for it in the next generation.

“If we don’t start now, it will be too late. The club can conduct activities within school compounds to educate the students.

“If they do not know what nature does, it will be hard for them to realise its importance,” he said.

He said more funds and efforts should also be channelled to tackle the low Malayan tiger population.

“Consider investing in NGOs that are familiar with conservation work.

“Invest in their intellectual ability and expertise to lend a helping hand for this objective,” he said, adding that this would spur NGOs to greater heights while lending much-needed assistance to the Wildlife and National Parks Department.

“It’s not just one department in charge of ensuring the big cats are safe. The Malayan tiger belongs to all of us,” Chow said.

He added that funds to carry out river surveys and studies were equally important.

Ecological Association of Malaysia president Prof Dr Ahmad Ismail highlighted the growing need for funds towards research and academic events to enhance knowledge sharing.

“Greater education and public awareness are needed. People are talking about climate change globally, together with biodiversity loss and local participation from indigenous communities and private companies.

“The government can also provide incentives, such as tax exemption status, to encourage participation,” he said.

On the Malayan tiger, Prof Ahmad said a focus should be placed on protecting the Taman Negara, Belum Temenggor and Endau Rompin forest reserves.

“The habitat needs to be managed, monitored and protected,” he said, adding that this should also include Ramsar sites.

A Ramsar site is a wetland site designated under the Ramsar Convention, which is an intergovernmental treaty providing for national action and international cooperation on its conservation and wise, sustainable use of its resources.

Ecotourism and Conservation Society Malaysia president and chief executive officer Andrew Sebastian said there was a need to protect forest reserves, and national and state parks.

He said incentives should be considered for those whistleblowers on illegal poaching and logging.

“Once you protect landscapes and natural ecosystems, you protect everything that lives in and around them,” he said.

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