Kluang MP urges authorities to investigate tapir's death

Ben Tan
The dead adult female tapir, believed to be a victim of a hit and run incident, was found along Jalan Padang Tembak in Kluang last week. — Picture courtesy of Johor Wildlife and National Parks Department

KLUANG, Jan 22 — A Johor-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) Pertubuhan Sahabat Alam Sekitar Kluang has lodged a report requesting the relevant authorities to look into the death of a female tapir here last week.

Kluang MP Wong Shu Qi, speaking on behalf of the NGO, said she had received information that a group of hardcore motorcycle enthusiasts were involved in an illegal motocross racing in the Gunung Lambak area.

“They (the motorcyclists) make loud noises that bother wildlife and force the animals to flee their natural habitat to find a safer place away from human disturbance.

“We (the NGO) have lodged a report requesting the relevant unit to investigate the case for the purpose of enforcing protection and control of activities that could affect the life of the animal,” Wong said in a statement issued yesterday.

The carcass of the adult female tapir was found along Jalan Padang Tembak here on January 16.

Wong, who is assisting Pertubuhan Sahabat Alam Sekitar Kluang, said female Malayan tapirs were not known to leave their natural habitat as based on information only the male tapir will leave their habitat for mating purposes.

She added that traces of the tapir footprint were earlier discovered by members of Pertubuhan Sahabat Alam Sekitar Kluang at Gunung Lambak back in August last year.

“They started to track the tapir’s path and planned to install infrared cameras to collect data and information on animal for ecological education purposes.

“From tracking the animal’s existence, it was sad to learn that an adult tapir was killed by a vehicle along Jalan Padang Tembak several days ago,” she said when contacted by Malay Mail today.

Wong explained that tapirs naturally venture out at night and are at risk due to poor visibility of the animals.

“The incident where the animal was hit by a vehicle occurred less than a kilometer from Gunung Lambak.

“We urge vehicle users who pass through the area around Gunung Lambak to take precautions to prevent accidents involving the animals,” she said.

Based on last year’s statistics, there are an estimated 1,000 tapirs in the country.

The population of the iconic Malaysian animal has dropped due to several factors, including the loss of their forest habitat.

The tapir is a fully protected species under the Wildlife Act 2010 (Act 716).

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