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Thursday, 22 August, 2002, 16:02 GMT 17:02 UK
Malaysian tigers 'risk being eaten'
Malaysian tiger
Tigers are a protected species in Malaysia
Tigers in Malaysia are more likely to be eaten by humans then the other way round, conservationists have warned.


What about "man-eaten" tigers? Do we care about them?

WWF Malaysia's Mikaail Kavanagh Abdullah
The Worldwide Fund for Nature [WWF] said that while much attention had been given to attacks by tigers on humans the animals themselves were actually under greater threat.

This is because of restaurants in several parts of the country offering so-called "wildlife meat" on their menus, from animals such as leopards, monkeys, bears and tigers.

"It is far more likely that a person will eat a tiger in this country than the other way around," WWF Malaysia's executive director Mikaail Kavanagh Abdullah said.

"But what about 'man-eaten' tigers? Do we care about them?"

Dwindling numbers

Mr Kavanagh said that people should boycott such restaurants and report them to authorities.

"When there is no market for wildlife meat, no animals will be killed for the market," he said.

"This will save tigers and other endangered species."

Tigers in Malaysia are a protected species - those killing them without a permit face prosecution - yet they are still becoming increasingly rare.

In 1997 a survey carried out by the WWF found that there were only about 650 tigers left in the Malaysian peninsula, down from more than 5,000 in the 1950s, French news agency AFP reported.

Nonetheless the north-eastern state of Kelantan earlier this month announced it would use the army to hunt and shoot dead tigers on sight after a spate of attacks on humans which left three villagers dead.

Province Governor Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat caused controversy by saying that the tigers would be "better off dead".

See also:

15 Aug 02 | Asia-Pacific
23 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
03 Apr 02 | South Asia
27 Sep 01 | Science/Nature
08 Apr 02 | Science/Nature
29 Apr 02 | Country profiles
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