© Lau Ching Fong
In 2009, a WWF patrol team in Malaysia stumbled across a tiger caught in a snare. The tiger was rescued but finally succumbed to its injuries after a few weeks. He was never named, thus earning his title as "nameless".
The Malayan tiger is the national animal of Malaysia. Yet, poaching of these endangered species is relentless and the country has lost many of their wild tigers.
Nameless was a male tiger aged about 2 and the half years old. Based on its wounds, the wild animal must have struggled hard to free himself. There was no way he could have known that any attempt to escape would only tighten the noose around his paw further, leading to further injuries.
His poachers have used one of the many access points created by the East West Highway that bisect the Belum-Temengor landscape into half - Royal Belum State Park and Temengor Forest Reserve. The nameless tiger was discovered 1km off this highway. Unfortunately, in the Royal Belum State Park where he was found, there are only 9 rangers. The size of the park is 117,500 hectares and almost twice the size of Malaysia’s neighboring country, Singapore. Rangers simply could not remove enough snares to protect the park’s tigers.
The Department of Wildlife and National Parks was called in to rescue him. They investigated his wounds and declared the tiger was ensnared for more than 2 days. He finally succumbed to his injuries after a few weeks despite best efforts.
The tiger was never given an identifiable name but was featured prominently in an award-winning documentary, “On Borrowed Time”. The documentary captured his rescue attempts and explained how wildlife crime is similar to any organized crime such as drugs or firearms trade, and sent an urgent request to treat it just as seriously.
But the increased awareness of the poaching crisis highlighted by his story did not result in strong political will needed to address threats for other tigers living in the same area.
It was only during the 10th year anniversary of the establishment of Royal Belum State Park in 2017, 8 years after his death, was there a stronger political commitment to deal with illegal poaching. This was at Royal Belum-WWF Conservation Summit 2017 where government leaders pledge to achieve zero poaching by 2022 with a well-equipped rapid response team.
HELP PROTECT WILD TIGERS,
WHEREVER YOU ARE.