Not many might have heard of tiger conservation champion Shah Redza Hussein, a hero trying to save the majestic striped animals from extinction.
His efforts, however, received global recognition recently and we think more Malaysians should know and appreciate him too!
Shah Redza, Director of Perak State Parks Corporation, has made Malaysia proud by emerging as the winner of the global Dr Rimington Award 2020 for his outstanding contribution to the conservation of tigers.
WWF-Malaysia nominated Shah Redza for this prestigious award, which was also supported by other NGOs such as Rimau and the Malaysian Nature Society.
The Dr Rimington Award has been presented annually since 2018, and recognises highly exemplary contributions in the conservation of wild tigers and encourages continued interest among future generations.
Three years ago Shah Redza’s conservation focus turned to tigers after being appointed as the Director of Perak State Parks Corporation.
Since then, Shah has been working to stop the decline of tigers in Royal Belum State Park, an incredibly diverse primary forest in Malaysia which is also a protected area of global significance for tiger conservation.
Among his main initiatives taken to protect tigers were to increase the number of enforcement staff to patrol the park, and establishing Menraq, an indigenous community-based wildlife patrol unit.
Malaysian youths won too
In addition to the main prize, two young Malaysians also won in different categories of the award. Anis Khalif won in the children’s category whereas hip hop star Armani Kowachee won runner up in the youth category.
Anis helped raise more than USD5,000 (MYR22,696) through the Simply Giving fundraising platform, which was used to purchase camera traps for monitoring tigers in Royal Belum State Park. This fundraising initiative was part of a tiger conservation and research project in partnership with WWF-Malaysia for a special school challenge.
Runner up in the youth category, Malaysia’s hip hop star Armani Kowachee supported WWF-Malaysia pro bono by posting her tiger conservation content on social media for Earth Hour and Global Tiger Day 2020, and encouraging her fans to support Malayan tiger conservation efforts.
These winners have put Malaysia on the global centrestage, and their achievements will hopefully galvanize support for tiger conservation efforts to be ramped up on a nationwide scale. With less than 200 Malayan tigers remaining, it really is now or never.