Malaysia has bountiful of delicious foods, cultures, beaches, and shopping malls. But most of all, we have one of the most beautiful mix of wildlife in the world. With all the poaching, destroying of habitats, and demands for more lands to make way for developments, the existence of wildlife is threaten by human’s greed. So this article is to raise awareness and maybe inspire as many people as possible to do act upon this catastrophe for the sake of our future generation.
1. Malayan Tiger
This is probably the most well-known endangered Malaysian animal. This elegant beast is a subspecies unique to Peninsular Malaysia, with the 3 priority areas being Taman Negara, Endau-Rompin Forest Complex and Belum Temenggor Forest Complex. Unfortunately in 2015, it was placed under the Critically Endangered list as there were a little over 3,000 tigers in the 1950s and today, the number has decreased drastically to around 300 now.
2. Black Shrew
This mouse-like mammal is usually spotted in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. This ‘introverted’ creature feeds on bugs and can he aggressive to each other. It is also limited to that particular Sabah region, and it is so rare that no one knows if it is still critically endangered or have already cease to exist.
3. Malayan Tapir
This creature is closely related to the elephant and rhino. It is another famous Malaysian animal but it isn’t widely known to be endangered because you can spot them in many zoos all around Malaysia. This herbivorous mammal with short trunks and dual-coloured bodies are found in 3 regions in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia. They are sadly endangered due to deforestation and hunting, with only 350 Malayan Tapirs left.
People travel from all over the world to see Borneo’s shaggy red-haired “man of the forest”. Their human-like mannerisms, keen intellect and antics often fill visitors with awe and wonder as some are able to communicate in sign language and fashion tools to help them forage for food. However, these gentle and intelligent creatures are critically endangered due to major habitat loss due to deforestation for open oil palm plantations, forest fires, the illegal pet trade, illegal hunting and trafficking. All 3 of their species. But today, there are several organisations dedicated to the survival of orang-utans in the wind. So let’s give them some help.
5. Borneo Pygmy Elephant
This less aggressive cute miniature elephant species of Asian Elephant have shorter trunks, longer tails and larger ears. They’re also typically found in Sabah near the Kinabatangan River. However, sadly today, poachers are still seeking them out for their husks and with the high demand for palm oil means that their home will be wiped out more drastically. Over the years, dozens of elephants have been found killed, poisoned or trapped in man-made traps. Today, there are only about 1,500 of them left.
6. Sumatran Rhinoceros
Considered one of the smallest rhinoceros in the word, this creature weighs about 500-800kgs. However due to poaching, the population of these heavy beasts has dwindled and there are now only 3 known rhinos left in the country. In December 2017, the last surviving female Sumatran rhino is reported to be severely ill and since the veterinarians are unable to harvest her eggs, this is a signal that there is might be the end for them. And with the Northern White Rhinos now extinct, the rest of the species will slowly dwindle too unless we do something about it. For decades, this solitary Asian mammal has been poached for its horn that is said to fetch as much as US$30,000 (RM128,034) per kilogramme. And it’s all for its ‘alleged’ medicinal properties which has never been proven to work.
7. Proboscis Monkey
This monkey is famous for its long nose and large stomach. Hilariously, it is also called the “dutch monkeys” because the Indonesians remarked that the Dutch colonisers often had similarly large bellies and noses. They are also found once widespread in the coastal mangroves of Borneo but their numbers have dropped by 80% in the last 3 decades with an estimation that only 5,000 left in Sabah’s wild now.
8. Sunda Pangolin
These beauties are probably one of the most heavily trafficked protected animal in the world as they can fetch a high price for their scales, meat and skin, which once again, has been ‘alleged’ to have medicinal properties that was never proven. In 2016, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) had imposed a total ban on international trade on all of its species, including our Sunda Pangolin. These little artichokes with legs are usually found in Borneo and is now critically endangered with one of the reasons being that 22,220 specimens were recorded as smuggled by a syndicate in Sabah in just 2 years. Reports have also said that the numbers have fallen by 80% in the last decade.
Known better as ‘tembadau’ locally, this wild cattle species could be mistaken for your average domesticated cow, being similar in size and shape, horned, and ranging from a tan brown to black with their characteristics markings of a white rump and ‘stockings’. Experts have said that there’s only a few more thousands left in Sabah and this is quickly decreasing due to poaching and habitat loss. Not known well by the public, they are on the international Union for Conservation of Nature’s endangered list but little research has been dedicated to this animal. This animal, that travels in herds, will not be seen by people ever again unless more people know about their endangered status and put efforts into their wildlife research and protection.