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Tiger rescued from poachers in Malaysia perishes from injuries

Rescued in early October from a poacher’s snare, a Malayan tiger has died from stress and infection due to its injuries. The 120 kilogram (264 pound) male tiger died on October 19th in the Malacca Zoo after undergoing surgery to amputate its right foreleg, which two weeks before had been caught in a poacher’s snare and severely injured.

“It broke my heart as I was there during the rescue. Everyone had such high hopes of the tiger being released back into the wild after its treatment at the zoo, and no one spoke of the in-betweens,” says WWF-Malaysia Species Communications Officer, Sara Sukor.

Top: cutting the tiger loose. Bottom: readying the animal for transport. Photos by WWF-Malaysia.

The tiger was found on October 4th in the Belum-Temengor forest by WWF’s Wildlife Protection Unit. WWF’s anti-poaching team called in officials from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN) who freed the tiger from the snare. The animal was then transported to Malacca Zoo for treatment. It was decided that the right foreleg had to be amputated.

Sukor says that this incident highlights the need for Malaysia to bring in more resources to fight the illegal wildlife trade, which has decimated species across Southeast Asia.

“The government really needs to set up a task force to tackle rampant wildlife crime,” Sukor says. “Stopping armed poachers is dangerous and difficult work that needs the support of many agencies. Therefore, we are calling for additional government agencies to join the fight in Belum-Temengor to stamp out poaching and cross-border encroachment.”

Malaysia has set up a National Tiger Action Plan to double its number of animals within 10 years, but it is questionable how this will be achieved if poaching continues. An estimated 500 Malayan tigers (Panthera tigris jacksoni) survive on peninsular Malaysia: an 83 percent drop from a population estimate conducted in the 1950s.

“My commitment to help save tigers is even stronger now, as this incident clearly shows that we have to do more in order to eliminate the real reason that the tiger died – poaching,” Sukor said.

No suspects have been charged or caught in the poaching of this tiger.

Updated video of the rescue, courtesy of WWF-Malaysia:

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