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Thursday, May 12, 2022

Spirits remain high for those on 240km walk to save tigers

 


Spirits are still running high on the seventh day for those involved in ‘A Walk For Tigers’, including actress Sharifah Sofia, despite low turnout from the general public.

The walk, which was to be completed tomorrow (May 13), is now set to end a day later on May 14. It began at Sungei Relau, Taman Negara and will end at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

“We were initially supposed to finish on Friday but because of my leg, we had to reschedule everything and because of the distance we missed out on - almost 20km - on the day that I hurt my leg.

“We had to realign the map… we've pushed our arrival for Saturday,” Sharifah said.

Today, the group will be making their way down a 24km stretch from Kampung Rasia to Bukit Tinggi. Sharifah will be filing a legal suit for the protection of Malayan tigers at the end of the walk.

She faced challenges such as the weather, being unable to gather supplies in deserted small towns during the Raya holiday, and a knee injury, which forced her to alter her route.

She appeared to be in good spirits yesterday when she spoke to Malaysiakini over the phone, saying she was icing her injured knee and had developed an inflamed tendon.

The actress, who is known for her roles in films such as ‘Pisau Cukur’, took heart that many were following her journey on social media.

The ‘A Walk For Tigers’ group, however, currently remains at a humble four.

Political support

“YB Rara (Ketari assemblyperson Young Syefura Othman) was supposed to join us today but she got stuck in (traffic caused by) the landslide that happened in Janda Baik,” said Sharifah.

She said she received calls from other MPs - primarily those from the opposition - who expressed a desire to join her on her long walk to the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

She added that while it was never something she aimed to achieve, she expressed a desire to hear from MPs aligned with the government of the day to truly feel the impact of her efforts.

“When we see them, we believe them. I update them every day, to let them know where we are, what we're doing, and what the plan is. So until we see them, then that's a different story.

“Right now, it's basically the opposition that's getting in touch.

“It would be great if the government was actually getting in touch, that would be even better.

“That means that there's a little bit more strength in what we're doing. There's a little bit more support,” she said.

Sharifah was driven to undertake the arduous task of the 240km-long journey after she was devastated by the dwindling numbers of Malayan tigers.

“You know how global warming, climate change, and everything that's negative is sugar-coated - like it’s happening, but it’s not that bad. I don't want to sugarcoat things.

“I want people to know that things are the way they are. It is as it is, with no sugar coating,” she said.

Asked what more she would do to resolve the dwindling number of tigers, she said she wants to educate the public.

“I hope that what I'm doing now will enable me to have more collaborations with organisations, where I can bring education to children and to adults.”

She wants to bring awareness to the public of the importance of not just tigers, but animals as a whole in our ecosystems.

Fewer than 150 tigers

A national survey by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan), WWF-Malaysia, and other NGOs from 2016 to 2020 found there are fewer than 150 tigers in Malaysian forests, down from about 3,000 in the 1950s.

"Loss of habitat due to rapid development, agriculture expansion, and widespread hunting has caused the population to decline to about 500 individuals at the turn of the century," WWF-Malaysia said.

The Malayan tiger is a totally protected species under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 and is classified as critically endangered under the International Union of Conservation of Nature's Red List for Threatened Species. - Mkini


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