SEREMBAN, June 3 — Malaysia’s first tapir conservation centre will be built in the Kenaboi Forest Reserve/State Park, Jelebu in Negri Sembilan, according to Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) state director, Wan Mat Wan Harun.
“The rationale behind it is Perhilitan hasn’t got a dedicated conservation centre for a comprehensive tapir treatment, rehabilitation and breeding programme yet despite the number of animals being rescued rising every year.
“The state park is ideal for the project. The centre will encourage research and development into the species by local and international researchers,” he told Bernama.
Apart from this, the centre — which was approved for construction by the Federal government late last year and its site confirmed by the state government — will help realise the Negri Sembilan Structure Plan (RSNS) 2045, which among other things aims to promote eco-friendly tourism.
“According to the overall plan for the 81ha site, 4.05ha will be allocated for infrastructure like an office, clinics, labs, X-ray facility, quarantine centre, store and so on, while the remainder will become a tapir paddock,” said Wan Mat, adding that it is expected to take five years to be ready.
On the biggest threats to Tapirus indicus, he said it is often to satisfy an appetite for exotic food, but more habitat fragmentation and hunters who trap or shoot them.
“When we hear of tapirs being hit by a car, it is a result of this,” Wan Mat said, telling earlier that technology for breeding and management will enhance conservation efforts, and indirectly protect the tapir from the threat of extinction
He also said that owing to the colouring of the tapir — black and white which symbolises balance and serenity in certain cultures — the creature is receiving notice from countries like Japan and China, which could lead to cooperation. — Bernama