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IPOH, April 2 — Perak State Parks Corporation director Shah Redza Hussein has received the Dr Rimington Award 2020 for his outstanding contribution to the conservation of tigers.
Shah Redza was nominated by WWF-Malaysia for this international award, which was also supported by other non-governmental organisations such as Rimau and the Malaysian Nature Society.
The Dr Rimington Award, presented annually since 2018, recognises highly exemplary contributions in the conservation of wild tigers and encourages continued interest among future generations.
WWF-Malaysia in a statement said that Shah turned his focus to tiger conservation three years ago after being appointed as the director for the state parks.
“Since then, Shah has been working to stop the decline of tigers in Royal Belum State Park, an incredibly diverse primary forest in Malaysia which is also a protected area of global significance for tiger conservation.
“Among his main initiatives taken to protect tigers were to increase the number of enforcement staff to patrol the park, and establishing Menraq, an indigenous community-based wildlife patrol unit,” it said.
Leader of WWF's Tigers Alive Initiative, Stuart Chapman, applauded Shah’s leadership and contribution towards the recovery and conservation of wild tigers in Royal Belum State Park.
“Also for his efforts in reviving the trans-boundary initiative between Malaysia and Thailand. It is the actions of outstanding conservationists like Mr Redza that give hope for tigers in Malaysia,” he said.
WWF-Malaysia executive director and chief executive officer Sophia Lim said that the management of Royal Belum State Park has seen enormous improvements since Shah came onboard.
“This park is the only area in South East Asia which has registered for Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CA|TS), a set of expert-derived best practice standards for the effective management of tiger conservation areas.
“We have seen the conservation gaps being narrowed since he joined and are confident that Royal Belum State Park would be able to achieve this international standard under his leadership,” she said.
In addition to the main prize, WWF-Malaysia also said that two young Malaysians also won in different categories of the award.
“Anis Khalif won in the children’s category whereas hip hop star Armani Kowachee won runner up in the youth category,” it added.
WWF-Malaysia said that Anis helped raise more than US$5,000 (RM22,696) through the Simply Giving fundraising platform, which was used to purchase camera traps for monitoring tigers in Royal Belum State Park.
“This fundraising initiative was part of a tiger conservation and research project in partnership with WWF-Malaysia for a special school challenge.
“Runner up in the youth category, Malaysia’s hip hop star Armani Kowachee supported WWF-Malaysia pro bono by posting her tiger conservation content on social media for Earth Hour and Global Tiger Day 2020, and encouraging her fans to support Malayan tiger conservation efforts,” it said.
WWF-Malaysia said that these winners have put Malaysia on the global centre stage.
“Their achievements will hopefully galvanize support for tiger conservation efforts to be ramped up on a nationwide scale. With less than 200 Malayan tigers remaining, it really is now or never,” it said.