The Malayan tiger population is at an all-time low, and experts say that there are fewer than 200 left in our jungles.
This figure is extremely concerning as it quite a challenge for the majestic species to mate, produce cubs, and for those cubs to grow into healthy adults.
One organisation who are trying to do their best to help shine some light on the situation is the Huku Tiger Awareness group.
For the love of tigers
Huku Tiger Awareness is an initiative started by teenage siblings Delwin Cheah Wien Loong and Delwina Cheah Kah Yan to raise awareness about the need to protect Malayan Tigers.
Speaking to Rojak Daily, the duo's father, Lawrence Cheah Guan Keong said the name Huku, was derived from two Chinese characters Lao (Hu) and Tong (Ku), meaning 'sufferings of tigers'.
"My son is an art and animal lover. The idea came about when my son Delwin kept on asking my wife Erina Law if we can do something to save the tigers."
"My wife then talked to me about starting a campaign on saving tigers. I told her it's not possible because we are not a big organisation and we don't have funds to do it," he said.
Lawrence, however, added that his wife didn't give up as they had successfully spearheaded an awareness campaign before.
"She was referring to the time when we started an awareness initiative about autism because Delwin had mild autism. The campaign was noticed globally because Delwin was listed in the Malaysian Book of Records as the 'youngest artist to hold a solo visual art exhibition' despite his condition and received appreciation letters from former United States president Barack Obama, as well as from Buckingham Palace for his achievements.
"So, I gave my full support to start this tiger awareness campaign," he said.
Education is also important
To kick off the awareness campaign to protect tigers, Delwin and Delwina, together with the help of their friend Max Yeoh Pang Kuan, 26, turned to social media by creating the Huku Tigers Awareness Facebook page.
Then Delwin designed the logo for the page which is a representation of nine species of tigers.
"The logo was used for the Facebook page and was also turned into motivational cards and T-shirts with impactful words. There is also a book about tigers which we are working on.
"However, the main purpose of the whole campaign is not to gain profit. We don't accept donations. It is all about our passion to save tigers and spread the message about it," said Lawrence.
Apart from that, the team also travelled to schools and underprivileged homes to educate the children about the importance of the species.
"Surprisingly, many children do not know about why there's a need to save the tigers. We tell them, if tigers are not around, it will affect the ecosystem. Hopefully the message gets across," he said.
Support from 'big names'
Lawrence said that to give emphasis to the campaign and create more awareness, they also approached a couple of public figures for support.
"We contacted some of the celebrities via direct contact. We approach some by sending messages through their Facebook or Instagram.
"We don't force them to support. They only support the campaign if they like it. We are so glad that celebrities as far as Hong Kong support this initiative. To date, over 10 celebrities including Hong Kong singer Maria Cordero have pledged their support for the campaign."
The untimely death of Awang Besul
Lawrence said his son was very moved by the death of Awang Besul, the tiger found roaming in Terengganu last year.
One Of The Tigers Spotted Roaming Around In Terengganu Has Died
"In fact, every time a tiger dies, and my son comes to know about it, he becomes sad. So again, the question is how can we save tigers? The society plays a large role in this," he said.
Recalling how people were crowding the area to catch a glimpse of the 130kg tiger, Lawrence said it wouldn't have happened if awareness was there.
"If the community was aware, the first thing that they would have done is to call the authorities.
"If you don't disturb the tiger, it won't disturb you. I saw videos of people taking their kids near the tiger. That's crazy! It's a wild animal, not a cat!" he said.
Lawrence said that awareness is crucial, and he hoped the campaign would reach a lot more people.oo
For more information, visit http://huku.com.my/ or Huku Tigers Awareness' Facebook page.