Malayan tiger photo: B_cool via Wikipedia.
Here's one more on the organized crime and the illegal wildlife trade connection: Economic Times reports that Malaysia's indigenous forest people are being paid by crime syndicates to poach tigers to meet increasing Chinese demand for body parts for use in traditional medicine:Executive director of WWF Malaysia, Dionysius Sharma said, "Local tribesman are being used by the middlemen to collect the forest products as they are familiar with the jungle. The tribesmen receive a small sum of money but the middlemen reap lots of profit."
As far as the national origin of these middlemen and syndicates, Sharma said it was unknown exactly who has been involved in recent killings--a four-year old male tiger was found dead last week--but that both Malaysian and international elements were involved:
There is a lot of evidence that hunters from Thailand and Vietnam are setting traps in Malaysia. We have found their camps and hunting equipment. They spend a long time in the jungles. They are very organized.
Malaysia's current tiger population stands at about 600-800, down from as many as 3,000 in the 1950s. In 2004, the Malayan tiger was determined to be a unique subspecies, found in the southern and central parts of the Malay Peninsula in both Thailand and Malaysia.
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