Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tiger in the Backyard

Right...so while the rest of the country talks about learning science and maths in English, or more accurately the plans to discontinue learning science and maths in English for various reasons that I shall leave alone, because
a) I have long left school
b) They most probably will change their minds again
c) Everyone else is talking about it;
I figured that I might as well touch on something else I found while checking out the papers today, which is about a proposed tiger park in Penang

Rethink plan to build tiger park, Penang urged
GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government has been advised to reconsider its intention to build an ambitious tiger park in the state.
Malaysian Nature Society Penang Branch chairman Kanda Kumar said setting up the park would not be right as Penang had no record of the animal’s existence.
“Most tourists would rather spend on heritage and food, not see animals in cages. Land-stressed Penang can do with more houses and recreational parks instead,” he said.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said on Sunday that if the 40ha project materialised, it would be the first tiger park in the country with a “whole lot” of tigers.
Penang Tourist Guides Association president Yoong Suh Yen said she personally felt that a tiger park would not be a top-dollar tourist attraction.
Shopowner Ahmad Talib Sham­sudin, 42, who runs a business in Relau, was worried because there would be big trouble if the tigers escaped from their enclosures.
Engineer Penelope Chan, 28, a resident in Sungai Ara near Relau, said that if the state was able to create a very good enclosure mimicking the natural habitat of tigers, the plan would be more acceptable.
“However, the state should work on capitalising its existing arts and culture,” she added.
Student Jack Ng, 16, who lives in Relau, said a tiger park would be a good tourist attraction, adding that children today only got to see tigers in movies or on television.

Now, the tiger is our national animal, so to speak. I have always found them fascinating, mysterious and somewhat beautiful, although if the only place you have seen tigers is the zoo, then you can add extremely bored into their description as well. However, I find the idea of building a tiger park (and of all places in Penang) to be something downright absurd. First of all, Penang doesn't seem connected to the tiger is any way whatsoever. There are no forests to speak of, and a tiger park seems very misplaced. It's as bad as say, ahving a penguin sanctuary in Singapore or something.

Furthermore, tigers are not meant to be kept in enclosures, they're supposed to roam free in the wilderness, skulking under trees, waiting for quietly before stealthily pouncing on their prey. I've not heard of this tiger park plan before today and therefore have no idea what the plans are, ie: how big is the park going to be (I can't picture 40ha), or how many tigers will be in there, or what species/sub-species are going to be placed there, or is it going to be a research centre for tigers, or is it just a place to put the tigers so people can ogle at them from a safe distance. All I can say is that if the park actually materialises, I do hope it's more of a research centre, gets plenty of good funding with enough space for the tigers (instead of sad cages), and will not be abandoned due to a lack of sources.

I must say though, that the moment I saw the title, my very first thought was about the tigers escaping and roaming the streets in Penang. "Help, there's a tiger in my backyard"

News source: The star


  1. When I read the title I thought they were talking about encsing maybe many acres - but caged tigers would be awful.

    (There's an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee that takes in rescued elephnats that didn't make it in zoos or circuses. They are free to roam within the large confines of the place. Apparently that part of Tennessee resembles an African savannah.)

  2. Now, sanctuary sounds much more pleasant than a park, if you look at it from the animal's POV :)

  3. Shopowner Ahmad Talib Sham­sudin and Blogger Terra Sheild - You both are so paranoid!

    But in these times, spending a huge sum over tigers... seems somewhat excessive and that too by Malaysia who I hear is under a lot of foreign debt.

  4. Terra,

    After all, we have monkeys in parliament , I don't see a problem having tigers in penang ;)

    Anyway, if the purpose of the park is to fully nurture and research on tigers instead of letting the whole project die after few years, then I am ok with it.

    But, I am highly sceptical about the project. I don't believe it will kick off.

  5. My poor little heart broke the day I visited the zoo here in Sydney City; as a kid you're truly excited to see what animals look like in the flesh and then you see what they look like in a zoo and its just depressing.

    Check out this video to see what I mean.

  6. rakesh: Ahmad Talib is paranoid, I'm just blessed with a wild imagination ;)

    vivek: I have my doubts too...

  7. Orhan: Yes, the zoo can be quite depressing. The tigers here look fine, but you can see 'boredom' screaming from the lions :(

  8. Monkeys in Parliament ... hahaha ... that's a good one!

    But yeah, it borders on absurdity! If they do go ahead with this, I sincerely hope the tigers do escape ... LOL!

  9. They called us (bloggers) monkeys first, unfortunately.

    Anyway, yeah... escaping tigers will then fill up our papers and we don't have to read all the drama in the papers... LOL!

  10. A tiger got loose in the US recently and killed some people. Also a woman was recently mauled by a monkey. I know this sounds terrible, but I love it "when animals attack". In our arrogance we feel the need to play with nature and can rarely handle it when nature plays back. Sorry bout the long absence but I been on the road for the last 5 weeks. Good to be back and reading your blog!

  11. Yeah, that's what they do... must be part of the fight or flight instinct. On other related news, apparently a (or more?) tigers were spotted near a logging area near a hillside resort. I hope they run far away!

    Anyway, nice to see you around again :)


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