Nature calls.

My first trip to something as close as calling it a zoo visit was the Sunway Lagoon animal park back in high school. I remembered going to the park in Sentosa Island when it first opened but did not recall much about it except the pink dolphin show. It was the ‘not so’ huge cage belonged to two tigers that got me hooked as I passed by to enter Sunway Lagoon theme park. It was my first life experience being close to a wild animal, fascinating yet wrong in so many ways. The tigers are beautiful creatures, I figured what was shown on TV were indeed true and more I was a mix of excitement and awe to see something real and right in front of my eyes. But, a part of me was curious about the whole picture.

Why is the tiger so quiet and lazy?

How do people feed them?

Aren’t tigers supposed to be running around?

Growing up in the city, I don’t have the luxury of seeing animals as often as I liked and because my hometown is also a city, I don’t have that countryside home to go back to during the holidays. What I knew was limited to the information I obtain from books and what I see on TV. So, it was a bit odd to see two passive tigers in Sunway Lagoon right in the middle of an urban place. So many questions popped in my mind and I was telling myself over and over again this is not how it is based on the TV shows I watched before this.

It was since then I started having interest in animal protection, specifically tigers. I loved them when I was young, I love them still but now that I’m older I learned there’s so much more about them, especially the importance of protecting instead of using them as a profit-making tool. Because tigers were the animal that first got me into thinking about animal protection, it’s only natural that they hold a special place in my heart. I wouldn’t call myself an environmentalist or an eco warrior, but I do believe in the cause and all the efforts to protect nature. I didn’t start acting on it though until only recently. In fact, it was back in college when I visited Malaysia’s National Zoo for the first time in my life and while I left feeling dazed about seeing them in such close proximity, the feeling that it’s all wrong became stronger.

Even then, I wasn’t too sure what I could even do.

I know I couldn’t go out there and be a volunteer to protect them or physically participate in movements as I was restricted by many rules at home. I read and keep on reading and on days where the news reported animal abuse or yet another death caused by humans I can’t help feeling disturbed and helpless. The urge to help was boiling but I didn’t know what to do, where to start, who to talk to or how do I even help.

I believe that many of us would feel the same way, especially when we weren’t exposed to animal protection awareness campaigns , organizations or education about it.

It was when I studied in the UK that I saw ways I could help and contribute within my capabilities. I started reaching out through fundraising activities, hoping that with the little amount that I collect, I would create a ripple effect in instilling awareness among my friends and family. Raising money was a way I could help and it’s something I enjoy doing too so I focused on that, putting whatever experience I had to good use and hoped that it would have eased the struggles of volunteers in the front line who actually go out of their way to protect the nature.

Along the fundraising journey, I also realized many other things about the effort to protect and conserve our environment. I think it’s easier to give up than fight for the cause because often, you meet a dead end or you hardly see any actual impact. There are so many barriers it almost feels like it’s impossible.

You’re not only going against people who sees the environment as a mean to make profit but also tradition and culture.

For example, when I visited Phuket I was so difficult to convince my family not to go to the elephant show because their argument was that it’s part of the culture and so many other people go as well. There’s also the other side of the argument that elephants and the people there have a long history of relationship. The Thai people worships elephants and take good care of them according to the history and bond they have between them for centuries. But there are also cases where the animals are abused while in training. I would say that it is probably a similar case to how our farmers use buffalo to plough their plantation field. Back in those days elephants too were used as a mode of transportation in Thailand.

The concern here is that today, some people are abusive towards their animals and we don’t have to use wild animals such as elephants or tigers, it can even be our pets.

So, yes despite only exploring a small part of this fight, I find myself giving up many times, defeated in arguments and it was almost useless when majority’s voice was not on my side.

But this also made me realize that the cause of this issue is mostly due to lack of awareness. Education in this area is not enough, it’s probably out there but it’s not reaching to everyone in the community. We read an article today about an animal being abused or a forest burned down due to the impossible hot weather in some area but it stops there for us. We would be sorry, feel sad about what happen, wished things didn’t turn out that way, we got angry and frustrated, grumbled to our friends about what we read in the article but we weren’t taught on what we can do to stop it from happening again. We don’t see ourselves being involved more than just reading it and that, I believe is where education comes in. When we educate ourselves about our surroundings, about our rights, our law and country we also learn how we, as part of a bigger society could act on situations like this. We may not realize that we were being ignorant which is why education and awareness in this area is very much needed to be emphasized and instilled.

Which is why, despite seeing more dead ends than impacts I still want to fight with those who believe in this cause. Because I feel that it’s a responsibility we carry as part of the society. Creating an environment that is livable, isn’t that something that involves us the primary users of Earth? How we manage it reflects our ability to remain in existence and I think that duty lies in everyone. I know I can’t do much, but I also know that continuously changing, educating and improving our lifestyle will eventually lead to bigger impact.

I started from the most famous organization that’s available in almost every country which is WWF. But there are also many non-profit environmental organizations that we could refer to. Some do research work, some focus on certain areas such as government policies and many other specifications. Here are some websites I usually check to get updates on environmental issues and learn more about the nature in my country.

Sometimes, we are aware of all the environmental issues happening around us. Social media and the news update us regularly. But it is taking that next step is what’s important here. Most of the time, we don’t know what we can do. Believe me, we can do so much more if we take one step further. You can change what you are angry about. Work within your capabilities. Just because you can’t go down to the field or be at the front line to protect nature, that doesn’t mean you are not capable of contributing to the cause.

We can’t all be farmers or fishermen. Some need to be seller, some as buyers and many more. Only then the economy will be moving forward. This concept applies to this cause as well. You could be working in terms of changing policies, becoming an eco ranger, promotes recycling, a trendsetter for green lifestyle and many more other options. You just need to act on it. It may be late as we have so much to work on, but it’s never too late and you’ll never know what you can achieve unless you try.

So try, and bring positive changes. You can play a role in this too.

 

p/s: I’m already all pumped up about crowdfunding for my tigers. Hopefully I will have the time as I wish to make it an annual affair rather than just a one time thing. Hope this write up will make you explore on how you can personally contribute to this cause too 🙂

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Will you take action or simply look?

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This was taken from a charity organisation based in UK called World Animal Protection. Can you see what’s the problem with this picture ?
I would have just shake my head if you ask me the same question a few years back. But that was before I found out how animals are treated with such cruelty behind this act they put on as a show for entertainment. It’s where the problem lies, not many people are aware how these animals are treated when they are not being paraded. When I was younger I thought they were treated well and that is why they become tame, because they are loyal to the owners for taking them in. I got excited every time I am close up with a tiger but it striked my mind how weird it is to see a tiger so passive, so emotionless; unlike the glorious and fierce animals they should be by nature. It got me thinking how these tigers are “tamed” and the articles I found about it was horrifying. It is almost impossible to imagine what kind of humans can afford to use such torturous methods just so they can take advantage of the animals’ uniqueness and make money out of it. It’s a shame, really. While some people find it normal to beat up animals and starve them so they listen to you, I personally think that it is wrong and unethical. There are no doubt other ways to find a source of income and although this world can be harsh without money, the animals don’t belong to you or anyone and they shouldn’t be used for your own benefit.

I am not sure if you’ve heard of the ‘Water for Elephant’ movie, the main star was Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon but that movie showed me how animals was living behind the scenes. I remembered I almost stopped watching the movie when the other guy was hitting the elephant over and over again so the elephant gets into training. All for a circus performance which was disgusting.

If you asked me a few years ago, I would have gotten excited if I get to pat a tiger. But today, not anymore. I would rather watch a tiger from far, in their natural form; a fierce & glorious predator. After all, that is how a tiger should be. And that is why they are beautiful.

So say no to animal cruelty. They should be free and not chained. I am supporting this motion to make Tripadvisor stop promoting such cruel entertainment and you can also make a difference by visiting the World Animal Protection website to sign the petition.

T for tiger !

I am pretty sure most of you ( at least my friends and family ) knows that I am all about tiger conservation. It’s only recently that I started help raise awareness using my social media and this is also one of the reasons why I decided to create this blog so I can reach out to more people and hopefully continue update about the wildlife conservation that’s happening around the world.

Unlike Nepal, Malaysia is still struggling to provide a proper tiger sanctuary for the Malayan tigers. At the moment, we have about 250 – 300 tigers that we are aware of in Malaysia. I’ve always loved the cat family. They are fierce and strong but at the same time so graceful. What made me actively follow updates on tigers in Malaysia was due to several tragedy that happened recently in February. You can checkout the devastating article here . I took a step further now that I am capable of helping by doing a fundraiser under WWF Malaysia. Now, now don’t think just because you are 12 years old or younger you are not capable of making a change. Everyone can make a difference. There are many ways you can help and I believe for young kids out there, the best place to start is your school. Get everyone including your teachers to be involved. My advice is dream big, start early 🙂 Okay so back to the fundraiser. The fundraiser lasted for a month and my target was MYR500. While I was happy that I’ve exceeded my target within that one month, I believe we Malaysians can do better than that as individuals. Personally, I believe a certain amount should be given back to the society, especially mother nature since we utilize most of what they offer to us anyway.

Some of you must be thinking what good is the wildlife to the country ? We should focus more on our economy and inflation in Malaysia is so high people got other worries besides donating to the wildlife.

Yes, inflation can be a bit scary especially if you’re supporting a big family. But the good thing about contributing to tiger preservation and other wildlife is that, not only we teach our nation empathy and that there has to be a balance between the wellbeing of the environment and economy but also we create a huge range of job opportunities. Yes, more work for our citizens. So why not support such good cause ? The economy is not the only thing that can create job opportunities. Let’s say we increase the tiger population in Malaysia, don’t you think we will need more vet to take care of the growing population ? We will need more rangers and don’t forget that this job also allows more ‘orang asli’ who are comfortable living in the forest to enter the work field. Check out this article about how the translocated elephants are disturbing the ‘orang asli’ and what is the possible solution to this problem. It is possible that we can use their expertise and provide jobs for them at the same time. We will have job opportunities for researches and boost outdoor tourism as well. Many people love Malaysia and its tropical season. The beach, the sun, the forest and all that exotic adventure; people love it. All of this opportunities just for preserving our nature, I say why not ? And yes although it may take millions and a long time to achieve this, I believe that if all citizens of Malaysia care for wildlife preservation this is not something impossible. If you think donating MYR 5 has no effect, think again. If there are about 500,000 citizens donating the same amount, we would have a total of MYR 2,500,000 worth of donation. Imagine what we can achieve with that amount of money provided it is allocated efficiently. I think it’s all worth it and I hope this changes your perception towards donating for the wildlife too.

Our donation will be an investment to the country and it’s a long term investment that brings positive outcomes.

But I mostly do it because I am happy knowing that I try my best giving back to the society by helping those who needs help, especially the animals since we are responsible for them. I believe it’s sort of a therapy for me knowing that my actions will help others for a good cause. If you believe in preserving tigers and that we should take action in Malaysia so no more tigers are sacrificed due to accidents and poaching, sign this petition that was created by MYCat a while ago . Also , checkout this inspiring article by WWF UK about how they converted a person from being an animal poacher to a ranger !

If you wish to support tiger conservation in Malaysia , there are a few non-profit organizations but my personal favourite are these two :
WWF Malaysia
MyCat

You can also check out the latest article about a conference that is happening soon in the effort to double up the number of tigers. This is a good piece of article with tiger statistics in several countries.

There are many ways you can help; one of it is to be a volunteer or the easiest is donate. As for me, I do a monthly donation to WWF UK by adopting a tiger. I pay about £3 a month ( it’s not even a huge amount, trust me ) and the fund goes to the tigers in Chitwan National Park, Nepal. But if you want to be more specific and contribute to the wildlife in Malaysia you can also fundraise like what I did since I’m right now in the UK and volunteering option in Malaysia is not possible when I’m thousand miles away. Of course there are also similar adoption scheme under WWF Malaysia if you prefer to do monthly donation which is equally good. If you want to do a fundraising event, you can have a look at this web , it is a very popular fundraising web for individuals n charities . It takes literally 5 minutes to set up a profile and people don’t have to worry if the money goes to other people or the charity organisation because it goes straight to the charity’s fund. You don’t have to deal with any bank transactions, everything is pretty much taken care of. It’s secure n safe too. Definitely a good web to encourage more people to donate. There is also another type of fundraising where you set up a stall , sell things and donate the money to charity which is amazing too because you can reach out to more people and help create awareness at the same time.

Together, I believe we can make a difference in Malaysia for our wildlife. Here’s a photo that was posted during World Wildlife Day. This photo is so impactful for me and I hope it does for you too #saveourtiger

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