KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 28 — Nature and animal lovers were left heartbroken on Christmas eve as two threatened animals — a sun bear and a tapir — were both killed following collisions with motorists.
The deaths were hardly new, nor were they isolated.
Statistics given by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and the Wildlife Department to Malay Mail recorded at least 39 roadkill deaths involving threatened species in Malaysia between January and September this year.
The most deaths involved the Malayan tapir, a species designated as “endangered”, or very likely to be extinct.
The report also indicated that there were 221 cases of roadkill in the same period, with the most cases happening in Pahang at 24 incidents, which was eight times more than runners-up Terengganu and Johor.
Just last year, a Malayan tiger — classified “critically endangered” — was hit by an MPV as it crossed the East Coast Expressway 2 at around 1 am, prompting renewed calls for motorists to slow when using highways at vulnerable areas at night.
Things have not changed much. Malay Mail lists down several of this year’s reported cases of motorists mowing down threatened animals:
An elephant calf was killed after a teacher came across a herd of elephants at the middle of the East-West Highway around 2.30 am. Following the incident, a hoax went viral online claiming that several elephants went on a rampage.
A 60-kg black leopard was killed after it was hit by a heavy vehicle along Jalan Sungai Yu-Merapoh, Kuala Lipis. The animal was found just eight km away from the Sungai Yu Eco Viaduct wildlife route.
Two tapirs were critically injured after they were simultaneously hit while crossing the Kuantan-Gebeng bypass at around 10pm. The two tapirs succumbed to their head and stomach injuries.
A 12-year-old bull elephant was killed after a tour bus on the East-West Highway rammed into it at around 5.30am. The animal collapsed and got up to its feet, only later to die at the shoulder of the road some time later.
A tapir was found dead after it was hit by a vehicle on the Jalan Jeli-Dabong near Kampung Renyuk, Jeli. The animal was killed by an injury to its neck.