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The critically endangered Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris) © WWF-Malaysia / Shariff Mohamad

Urgent Actions Needed Now

The critically endangered Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris) © WWF-Malaysia / Shariff Mohamad

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Published 21st January 2022

  English 

Immediate And Urgent Actions Needed Now To Protect Tigers From Extinction

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 21 Jan 2022 - Asian leaders today acknowledged the continued threat to wild tigers in the region and set out a series of priority actions to ensure the recovery of wild tiger populations within their historical range.


The 4th Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation (AMC) adopted the Kuala Lumpur Joint Statement which listed 14 commitments. This includes a crucial step of formalising collaboration and sharing intelligence information among law enforcement agencies to combat wildlife poaching and trafficking and implement a South East Asia Tiger Recovery Plan, focused on where tiger poaching and trafficking are acute.

Hosts Malaysia underlined the severity of the challenge facing tiger range countries (TRCs), revealing that it has less than 150 Malayan Tigers remaining.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, in his speech, which was streamed online, said experts had estimated that the Malayan Tiger could vanish from the wild in five to ten years without immediate action. In a separate speech, the country’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Dato’ Seri Takiyuddin Hassan termed the results from its national tiger survey ‘devastating’.

The Prime Minister also urged all tiger range countries to work together to reverse the tide for tigers saying that “the loss of tigers knew no geographical, cultural and political boundaries”.

The conference held in Malaysia also heard from experts and non-governmental organisations who discussed the latest developments on a range of issues impacting wild tigers.

In a side event moderated by TRAFFIC, experts warned that poaching, trafficking and demand for wild tigers were still rife with active criminal network operations and exacerbated by a thriving online trade. They also emphasised poor compliance with the CITES¹ call to phase out tiger farming where more than 7,000² captive tigers in Lao, Thailand, Viet Nam and South Africa were in danger of entering illegal trade.

As a global community, there is clearly so much knowledge, expertise and interest to save the tiger. Yet, the issues raised and discussed by governments and other experts remain unchanged over decades. We need political will and resources to move pledges to actions now before tiger populations plummet to a point of no return.” 

Kanitha Krishnasamy, Director for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia and moderator of the side-event Protecting Tigers from Wildlife Crimes for Sustainable Rehabilitation and Recovery in Tiger Range Countries.

Since 2000, over 2200 tigers have been confiscated from trafficking and illegal trade in tiger range states. 

Poaching and illegal trade were a top agenda item, with the conference recognizing that it had been raised during the closed-door sessions for government officials, saying it would be raised for further discussion at the Global Tiger Summit to be held in Vladivostok later this year.

“In recent years, wild tiger populations have shown different growth trajectories across TRCs. While it has grown and stabilized in few, it has continued to decline in others. However, these trends have shown a consistent and direct correlation with certain crucial factors, viz., the strength of political will; number of boots-on-ground; use of good science; and the extent of community support. Only urgent, positive and sufficient actions on these, as highlighted in the KL Declaration, can ensure a secure future for tigers in the world,” said Dr Saket Badola, Head of TRAFFIC's India Office.

The 4th AMC was jointly organized by the Malaysian Government and Global Tiger Forum (GTF) with the support of local and international partners. More than 300 participants consisting of Ministers, Senior Government Officials, local and international NGOs and the private sectors took part in the conference that lasted for three days.