2010/06/23

Malaysia to probe killing of tiger

KUALA LUMPUR, June 23, 2010 (AFP) - Malaysian wildlife authorities said Wednesday they are investigating the killing of a three-year-old tiger as the country battles to double the population of the endangered species.

The tiger was killed in northern Perak state Tuesday after a villager claimed it attacked his poultry and asked a member of the government's volunteer force to shoot the animal, The Star newspaper reported.

The killing comes as Malaysia tries to double its tiger population to 1,000 by 2020. There are only 500 wild tigers left in peninsula Malaysia, a sharp decline from an estimated 3,000 in the 1950s.

"We have lodged a police report. The man should have informed us and let us set up a trap to capture the tiger alive," said Shabrina Shariff, state wildlife department director.

"We don't want to kill our tigers, we are supposed to preserve and conserve them," she told AFP, adding the department is carrying out its own probe and will prosecute if the investigation shows any wrongdoing.

In February, a tiger that injured a tribesman in the same state was found dead with gunshot, spear and snare wounds.

Under Malaysian law, poachers face up to five years in jail. Tiger skins and body parts are in demand across Asia where they are used in traditional medicines.