KUALA LUMPUR: As Malaysia’s national animal, the majestic Malayan tiger is a ubiquitous symbol of bravery and strength. Unfortunately, in 2015, it was announced that the tigers are critically endangered with less than 300 left in the world. The iconic species of Malaysia’s tropical rainforests have suffered severely at the hands of poachers who hunt them mainly for their bones and fur. The declining population is also due to the loss of their natural habitat.
In the spirit of Merdeka, Sri UCSI School is organising a fundraising campaign for the conservation of the Malayan Tiger. The School aims to raise RM20,000 from the various activities conducted throughout the month of August and the funds will be channelled to the World Wide Fund for Nature-Malaysia’s (WWF-Malaysia) Tiger Conservation Fund.
The presentation of the mock cheque will take place on August 30, the same day that the School will be celebrating this year’s National Day.
According to Tan See Miin, the principal of Sri UCSI Secondary School, the School hopes to reach a broad audience with this effort and address the threats affecting the declining Malayan tiger population in Peninsular Malaysia.
“Today, there are roughly around 250 Malayan tigers that are left in the wild. WWF’s work has been invaluable in ensuring that these magnificent cats do not forever disappear and we want to do our part to help. We hope that through this fundraising campaign, we will be able to raise support for our tigers at home,” she said.
To achieve the campaign’s objective, teachers from both Sri UCSI’s primary and secondary school generously committed their time and effort to the cause.
Additionally, Tan also said that the campaign is a perfect opportunity for the students of Sri UCSI to be the voice for tigers in Malaysia and contribute toward the efforts in protecting the country’s national icon.
“Our students are heavily involved in this campaign. This is the right time to pass the responsibility on to the younger generation so that they inculcate an awareness of their surroundings and are impassioned to make a difference. After all, action speaks louder than words. We want our students to be responsible citizens that can contribute positively to our country.”
To kick start the campaign, A. Lasal, the Youth Outreach manager of WWF-Malaysia conducted a talk for the students of Sri UCSI to educate them on the dire situation facing the endangered Malayan tigers in the wild and the conservation efforts by WWF and government agencies.
A group of students was selected to be the student ambassadors for this campaign and they went through a special workshop at WWF-Malaysia with Lasal to learn more about what the public can do to help the tiger conservation efforts.
Through the workshop, the student ambassadors had the opportunity to experience the life and work of a field biologist such as jungle tracking deep into the forest reserve, setting up camera traps, evaluating animal tracks in the jungle and disabling the poachers’ traps.
They also learned of the hard work put in by the field biologist who might need to stay in the jungle for two to three weeks with a minimum supply of food, and having to source food from their surroundings.
To raise awareness on the issue, the School organised an event aptly named “Save the Tiger Day” on August 23. Among the activities at the event were quizzes about the Malayan tigers and “Can you jump as high as the tiger?”
As part of the campaign, the students also helped to sell WWF-Malaysia t-shirts, bags and car stickers, among other merchandises.
The students also set up a donation box and a photo booth at the school compound where students, parents, and staff can contribute to the fundraising campaign. The creative young minds have also been selling food and specially mixed drinks called ‘tiger drinks’.
In addition to that, the School will also be organising Canteen Day on August 26, 2016 to raise more funds.
Tan also expressed that although the campaign will conclude at the end of August, the School will continue to lend their support in promoting awareness of other key issues in line with WWF’s strategy to conserve Malaysian wildlife.