SHAH ALAM, MALAYSIA: On Monday (13 Nov), tragedy struck when a Malayan Tapir weighing 300 kg was discovered lifeless along Persiaran Mokhtar Dahari in Puncak Alam, Shah Alam, at 9:00 AM.
The incident prompted a swift response from the Saujana Utama Volunteer Fire Team, who received an emergency call for assistance from the Selangor Wildlife Protection and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) to address the situation.
Wan Mohd Adib Wan Mohd Yusoh, the Director of the Department of Wildlife Protection and National Parks of Peninsular Malaysia (Perhilitan) Selangor, shared details of the incident.
Members of the Selangor State Wildlife Office, upon receiving the distressing information, hurried to the scene, where they found the tapir sprawled along the roadside.
It is believed that the tapir fell victim to a collision with a car heading towards Saujana Utama.
To manage the aftermath, seven members of the Saujana Utama Voluntary Fire Brigade collaborated with the Selangor State Police to remove the tapir’s carcass and regulate the flow of road traffic.
Subsequently, the tapir’s remains were transported to the Sungai Dusun Wildlife Conservation Center for a detailed autopsy.
Wan Mohd Adib Wan Mohd Yusoh took the opportunity to caution the public, urging them to exercise caution and reduce speed when traversing Persiaran Mokhtar Dahari to Saujana Utama.
Highlighting the recurring issue, Wan Mohd Adib pointed out that the area has become a “hotspot” for wildlife crossings, particularly tapirs, primarily during the nocturnal and early morning hours.
This incident serves as a poignant reminder of the pressing need for conservation efforts and heightened awareness to mitigate such tragic occurrences in the future.
Unchecked deforestation significantly reduces animal habitats, directly affecting their access to sufficient food
Puncak Alam, unfortunately, is no stranger to incidents of roadkills, as emphasized by the Malaysia Animal Association.
They underscored that uncontrolled deforestation remains a significant contributor to the shrinking of animal habitats, directly impacting their access to an adequate food supply.
Amidst a Malaysia Animal Association Facebook post, a surge of concern among netizens has surfaced regarding the recent incident.
Many pointed out that the animals, forced to traverse due to diminishing forests, face a habitat crisis exacerbated by rampant development.
Expressing concern for the imperiled wildlife, one netizen urged authorities to intervene.
The plea underscores the imminent threat to the lives of these animals, emphasizing the need for proactive measures.
Notably, several netizens highlighted the existence of a “Beware of Wildlife Area” sign, lamenting the apparent disregard for it.
In a shared experience, one netizen revealed encountering a similar cautionary sign on the road but observed a pattern of high-speed driving, leading to tragic incidents such as a monkey being fatally struck by a passing car.
This firsthand account highlights the pressing need for increased awareness and adherence to warnings for the safety of both wildlife and motorists.
The threat of roadkill on Malaysia’s protected Tapir population
Malaysian Tapirs, designated as fully protected wildlife under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (Act 716), face a growing threat highlighted by a report from Perhilitan.
According to the Perhilitan’s article, spanning the years 2006 to 2019, a disheartening tally of 115 Malaysian Tapirs fell victim to roadkill incidents.
The year 2017 stands out as particularly grim, marking the highest recorded instances of tapir roadkills at 26.
This alarming trend raises concerns about the impact of rapid urbanization and the concurrent expansion of transportation networks, which have imposed severe stress on Malaysia’s wildlife and biodiversity.
Beyond the immediate threat of roadkills, the repercussions of extensive road development are far-reaching.
The associated infrastructure contributes to noise pollution, increases the likelihood of traffic accidents, facilitates poaching access into adjacent forest regions, and ultimately leads to reductions in animal populations and the extinction of species within tropical forests.
A poignant consequence of these factors is the substantial decrease in the population of Malayan tapirs in Peninsular Malaysia, with roadkill emerging as a major contributing factor.