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Tiger park plan scorned

CONSERVATIONISTS have slammed plans to create a tiger park on Malaysia's resort island of Penang, warning yesterday the project would be too expensive to maintain and could lead to illegal wildlife trade.

The Penang government recently proposed setting up a 40-hectare tiger park to boost tourism, a key revenue earner for the northern state.

But the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers said the country already has 40 zoos and that maintaining them is a challenge for authorities.

It expressed fears that the animals could end up being sold to maintain the park.

The group said the plan also violates the federal government's commitment to protect and increase wild tiger populations. Under the National Tiger Action Plan launched in December, jungle corridors will be protected and authorities hope there will be 1,000 Malayan tigers roaming in the wild by 2020.

Illegal hunting and destruction of natural jungle habitat have reduced Malaysia's wild tiger population from 3,000 to 500 in the last half-century.


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