Alarming rise in tapir road accidents this year, says minister

10 cases of tapir being knocked down on the road have been reported this year.

KUALA LUMPUR: Members of the public have been urged to report to authorities in the event of forest encroachment or illegal hunting activities in an effort to protect the endangered wildlife including the Malayan tapir.

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Shamsul Anuar Nasarah said it was important to ensure that Malayan tapir did not receive the same fate as the Javan rhinoceros and Sumatran rhinoceros, which have gone extinct in Malaysia.

The Malayan tapir (scientific name Tapirus indicus) known locally as tenuk, cipan, badak tampung, badak tuli and badak murai, is on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Shamsul said the main threats to the tapir are habitat loss, forest fragmentation, change of the use of land, with the the tapir often becoming the victims of roadkill, as well as caught in snares laid out by illegal wildlife poachers.

“We must learn from past mistakes and continue to enhance efforts to ensure that the issue of extinction is not repeated … the ministry through the Department of Wildlife and National Parks will continue to intensify efforts to protect the tapirs,” he said in a statement in conjunction with World Tapir Day tomorrow.

The World Tapir Day is celebrated on April 27 annually to raise public awareness of the importance of conservation of the endangered herbivore and its habitat.

Shamsul Anuar said from January to March this year, 10 cases were recorded involving tapirs being knocked down by vehicles compared to 12 cases reported last year.

“During the period 2013 to 2019, a total of 84 tapirs were killed in road accidents… this trend is seen as alarming with the increase in the number of cases recorded in the first three months of this year,” he said.

Various initiatives were being implemented to reduce roadkill incidents which include the installation of yellow transverse bars, solar amber light and wildlife crossing signs at several identified locations, he said.

He said the conservation aspect was also given special attention by establishing protected areas and a network of ecological corridors, including in-situ and ex-situ conservation programmes, as well as developing the Malayan Tapir Conservation Action Plan (MaTCAP) to enhance the management of the tapirs in the country.

“The in-situ programme includes monitoring of the animal distribution in the original habitat and rescue operations of those that are injured and out of its habitat while ex-situ involve breeding activities in confinement at Sungai Dusun Wildlife Conservation Centre in Selangor.

“In addition, attention is also given to collaborative programmes with various agencies locally and abroad for research in ecology, behaviour, nutrition, reproduction and genetics,” he said.

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