WWF Malaysia said the ideal habitat for tigers is always a pristine and undisturbed forest.
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Director Abdul Khalim Abu Samah of the Kelantan Forestry Department drew criticisms when he said logging is good for the tiger population during a press conference in Relai Forest Reserve, Gua Musang.
He based the claim on a study that stated that logging will pave the way for new plants and saplings to grow.
These plants will in turn attract prey animals such as deers. A large deer population will mean more food for tigers which will encourage the number of tigers to grow too.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Malaysia has clarified in a letter that the 2019 study quoted by Abdul Khalim was misinterpreted.
The study entitled ‘The importance of selectively logged forests for tiger Panthera tigris conservation: a population density estimate in Peninsular Malaysia’ by D. Mark Rayan and Shariff Wan Mohamad referred to selective logging, not indiscriminate logging.
Indiscriminate logging leads to forest degradation and deforestation which cause the loss of natural wildlife habitats.
What is selective logging?
WWF Malaysia explained that selective logging is a forestry practice that will only cut a select number of trees annually in a forest compartment instead of the whole forest at once.
This forestry practice is in line with Sustainable Forest Management practices.
WWF Malaysia reiterates that a pristine and undisturbed forest is still the ideal habitat for tigers.
However, tigers need a large habitat area for their survival. In other words, a large landscape is needed to protect the tiger population.
This is also the reason why a combination of Protected Areas and forest reserves are needed in Malaysia to protect the tigers.
While protected areas such as Taman Negara, Royal Belum State Park and Endau Rompin National Park form the core areas for Tiger conservation, the adjacent forest reserves are still part of a tiger’s natural habitats.