Malayan tigers were classified as Indochinese tigers until DNA testing in 2004 showed them to be a separate subspecies. Their Latin name—Panthera tigris jacksoni—honors Peter Jackson, the famous tiger conservationist. Malayan tigers are found only on the Malay Peninsula and in the southern tip of Thailand.
Bringing tigers back from the brink takes commitment on a global scale. Faced with this challenge, tiger range countries took a stand and set an ambitious species conservation goal: double the number of wild tigers by 2022—the next Year of the Tiger. The goal is called Tx2.
Poachers have infiltrated the forests of Malaysia and plundered its wildlife, including tigers. Malaysian wildlife is in high demand in Asian markets for use as folk medicine and as a sign of wealth.
Logging operations and road development pose big threats to Malayan tiger habitats. Conversion of forests to agriculture or commercial plantations results in frequent encounters between tigers and livestock.
The cost to farmers can be high—livestock loss due to tigers is estimated to have cost more than $400,000 from 1993–2003 in Terengganu, one of the poorest areas in Peninsular Malaysia. In retaliation, tigers are often killed by authorities or angry villagers. Tigers killed as “conflict” animals often end up on the black market, creating a link between human-tiger conflict and poaching.
What WWF Is Doing
Assessing tiger habitat in forests adjacent to palm oil plantations in Malaysia.
Fighting Wildlife Crime
The documentary On Borrowed Time highlights the poaching crisis in the Banjaran Titiwangsa tiger landscape and was produced by WWF and TRAFFIC, the global wildlife trade monitoring network.
The film, which uncovers a trail of wildlife crime, is a call to action against poaching and forest encroachment. The Belum-Temengor Forest Complex is one of the last refuges for amazing, yet highly threatened wildlife, such as the Malayan tiger, Asian elephant and Sunda pangolin.
Mitigating Human-Wildlife Conflict
WWF has led an initiative to reduce human-wildlife conflict through better livestock management. By helping farmers build more secure cattle sheds, livestock predation by tigers has been significantly reduced. WWF also managed to reverse a 2002 decision by a Malaysian state government to eliminate all tigers.
Land-Use Planning and Management
WWF helps state governments make tiger-friendly planning decisions. In addition, we work on management of High Conservation Value Forests to ensure protection of tiger habitats. WWF helps the government of Malaysia designate and develop wildlife corridors to maintain connectivity between forest areas alongside road construction.
WWF has helped set up camera traps to monitor tiger populations and other wildlife. These surveys help us measure Malayan tiger populations and understand their habits.
WWF knows that for tigers to survive, local communities must understand the importance of tiger conservation. Our education efforts include comic books describing how to avoid human-tiger conflict and a website developed for children.