The new indigenous forest dwellers are the heroes of conservation
DEEP in the jungle, where the forest canopy bends sunlight into a lattice of overlapping greens, where snakes glide and the throaty cries of gibbons resound over the bird song, a group of men silently set up camp for the night. The experiment here in the Royal Belum State Park of Malaysia suggests one solution: The most effective way to protect forests and wildlife is to enlist the help of the communities who already live there and possess a unique body of knowledge of the landscape they live in. Those who can secure a living from the forest have an incentive to protect it, and that can create a far stronger line of defence than what governments can muster. Found only in Peninsular Malaysia and southern Thailand, the Malayan tiger is its own subspecies and is found nowhere else in the world. In the 1950s, it was estimated that 3,000 roamed our rainforests. Those figures have reduced drastically since then. The latest National Tiger Survey results indicate there are less than 150 in the wild. While the loss of habitat contributed to the decreasing numbers, the biggest threat to tigers today is poaching. More on this encouraging step forward in an effort to save the tiger and other precious species can be read by following the link below.