- Category: Media Coverage
- Published: Monday, 08 February 2016 21:52
- Written by Tharanya Arumugam NST Online
KUALA LUMPUR: The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry has directed the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) and Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia to step up surveillance and preventive measures along highways and roads identified as hotspots for wildlife crossing.
Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said Perhilitan had identified 126 hotspots nationwide, based on the number of road kills.
“The number of animals being killed on the road has been on the rise over the years, where 453 cases were recorded last year from 136 cases in 2007.
This calls for immediate action. Hence, I have instructed Perhilitan and the Forestry Department to put up proper signs with clear visibility to notify motorists to be more vigilant and to drive carefully at these areas.
“The authorities have also been tasked to mend damaged fences between the highway and the jungle to prevent animals from entering highways and roads,” he told the New Straits Times. Wan Junaidi said the problem arises when irresponsible parties or local farmers destroy the fences to transport their livestock or to access their farms.
“At times, the fences were damaged by fallen trees,” he said, adding that the ministry and agencies would cooperate with the local authorities to create awareness on wildlife in the area.
Wildlife road kills came to light when a Malayan tiger, a critically endangered animal (with only about 250 to 340 left in the wild) was killed crossing the East Coast Expressway Phase 2 (LPT2) on Saturday.
NST yesterday reported that the ministry has plans to build 37 viaducts at 37 hotspots to facilitate the movement of animals.
Wan Junaidi said he had notified Perhilitan director-general Datuk Abd Rashid Samsudin to study the cost of building wildlife sky bridge such as the one in Singapore to viaducts.
“Of course, we have to study other factors too, for example, the visibility (of animals) taking into account the Malaysian propensity to shoot and kill animals,” he added.
EcoKnights president Yasmin Rasyid said if viaducts were built at areas earmarked for wildlife crossing, it would certainly be useful in reducing the rate of accidents.
However, she noted that the authorities should review a particular area before any development activities to ensure it does not disrupt animal crossing.
“Proper studies need to be done for all future road developments to ensure that we are not fragmenting habitats of wildlife species. If it is going to fragment forest then the highways or roads should be redirected.
“Besides, motorists should be more careful and drive responsibly to avoid accidents.”
Meanwhile, Terengganu Wildlife Department had confirmed that the tiger which was hit by a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) at KM321.2 of the LPT 2 in Kemaman yesterday was from the wild, and did not escape from a zoo nearby.
Its director Mohd Hasdi Husin told Bernama that based on an autopsy, the tiger which was pregnant died from severe head injuries after being hit by the MPV.
He said another autopsy would be carried out by the veterinary department soon to determine the background and the original habitat of the tiger which weighed about 100 kilogrammes.