Black Mambas Female Anti-Poaching Training

Image: British Forces training the 'Black Mambas' in South Africa

British forces will train Malaysians in anti-poaching techniques to help protect endangered wildlife species like the tiger, the UK's High Commissioner to the country has announced.

The counter-poaching specialists - who have worked in Africa - will next year teach how to track down poachers over great distances and long periods of time.

The British Army's project to train countries in anti-poaching skills has been piloted in Malawi during the summer.

Commanders see the initiative as a way of enhancing soldiers' tracking skills which have not been needed in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Prince of Wales's charitable body supported the project financially when it was in its infancy and Charles attended a conservation summit in Malaysia where High Commissioner Vicki Treadell made the announcement.

Charles had the chance to see the sort of habitat Malayan tigers live in when he was taken on a boat trip in the Royal Belum State Park, in northern Malaysia, where the conference was held.

Speaking briefly at the end of the summit, Ms Treadell told delegates: "I'm pleased to announce, albeit a small sum, we have identified an initial £30,000 or 165,000 ringgit - depending on the rate of exchange - to develop some capacity building programmes working across Malaysia."

"The other commitment that we will make today is that we will bring British military anti-poaching training expertise to Malaysia next year to run some training of anti-poaching.

"Of course we will do it here in Belum but we also hope to take it to other parts of Malaysia. That is our commitment to take the work that flows from this summit forward."

The numbers of Malayan tigers have fallen by around half to just 250 animals during an 11-year period to 2014 - but global figures for the big cats have increased by 700, from 2010-16, to 3,900.

Dr Mark Rayan Darmaraj, WWF-Malaysia Tiger Landscape lead, told the delegates that the poaching of tigers was the issue they needed to address.

He said: "The trajectory of where we're headed, we're looking at heading to something called 'empty forest syndrome', where the habitat is intact but there are no longer animals."

The conservationist added: "All is not doom and gloom.

"There are countries that have managed to increase the numbers like India and Nepal, and the key thing there was they made it a national priority to save tigers, backed by ensuring there was enough resources to tackle poaching."

Comments

Topics: