A pair of Sumatran tigers at the Malaysian national zoo in Kuala Lumpur
KUALA LUMPUR : Tiger meat from a forest reserve in Malaysia's southern Johor state is being served at local restaurants, with customers coming from neighbouring Singapore for the "delicacy," a report said Monday.
Indigenous Orang Asli tribesmen living within the reserve are believed to have been paid by businessmen to trap tigers for their meat, Malaysian Nature Society Johor branch adviser Vincent Chow said.
"Fresh tiger meat can fetch as much as 1,000 ringgit (263 dollars) per kilogramme (2.2 pounds), depending on whether the meat is sold cooked or fresh, while the going rate for tiger bones is 600 ringgit per kilogramme," he said.
"The Orang Asli get as much as 15,000 ringgit (nearly 4,000 dollars) for using their traditional skills to trap and kill the tiger, while the middleman gets between 80,000 ringgit and 100,000 ringgit for each animal," he was quoted in the New Straits Times saying.
Every part of the tiger is utilised, from the penis - as an aphrodisiac - to the whiskers, which are used as toothpicks, Chow said.
"Catching the culprits is virtually impossible because there is a conspiracy of silence," he said.
Due to the sheer size of the forest reserve, which is as big as Singapore, enforcement was also difficult, he said. Chow estimated that some 30 tigers were in the park.
A 1997 survey carried out by the wildlife department estimated there were some 600-650 tigers left in peninsular Malaysia, down by almost 90 percent from 5,000 in the 1950s. - AFP
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