Saturday, February 13, 2010
Is Tiger beer worth more than real tigers?
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 — The MyCat tiger conservation group has called for stricter measures to protect the national symbol following the recent brutal slaying of a wild tiger in Perak by poachers.
It also called for heavier punishment, noting that a tiger poacher had only been fined RM7,000 a few years ago while a thief who stole 11 cans of Tiger and Guinness Stout beers worth RM70 was jailed for five years.
“Surely our tigers are worth more than RM70?” MyCat coordinator Loretta Shepherd asked in a statement, noting ironically the Chinese Lunar New Year of the Tiger will begin on Sunday.
She was responding to media reports over a tiger found dead with a wire snare still entwined around its severed left forelimb, after it allegedly attacked an Orang Asli..
The Perak Department of Wildlife and National Parks made the gruesome find, and reported that the tiger was trapped in the snare for a few days, shot in the eyes and other parts of its body, and attacked with spears fashioned out of hard palm stalks. It is also believed to have been poisoned.
Shepherd expressed scepticism that those involved in the killing would be given maximum penalties although the authorities have detained seven people, including the person allegedly attacked by the now-dead tiger.
Under the Protection of Wild Life Act 1972, each can receive a maximum sentence of a 5 year jail term and RM15,000 fine for killing a tiger.
“In 2005, a man in Tumpat, Kelantan, was found guilty of illegal possession of a dead tiger. The tiger had been butchered into four pieces and stored in his freezer. For that offence, he paid a fine of RM7,000 and walked out a free man.
“Clearly, our values are misplaced. Take the case involving the theft of 11 cans of Tiger beer and Guinness Stout worth RM70 in January 2010 where a man was sentenced to five years imprisonment,” she said.
MyCat urged the Attorney-General to treat the case with urgency and importance and put into effect a penalty system that could prevent similar incidents from recurring.
It elaborated further that swift enforcement is highly commendable but would count for little if the guilty parties are let off lightly, which it claimed is “often the case”.