Malaysia – through the Perak State Parks Corporation (PSPC) in collaboration with Tourism Perak and MATTA (Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents) – is developing tour packages in 2023 with special conservation-based itineraries which will open up opportunities for tourists from all over the world to experience a once-in-a-lifetime vacation inside a lush tropical rainforest, and discover key conservation efforts conducted on the ground.
By doing so, tourists can directly contribute towards the conservation mission of biodiversity protection, especially the critically endangered Malayan Tiger in the Royal Belum rainforest, covering an area of over 128,000 hectares in the north of Perak state in Malaysia. Royal Belum is one of the most pristine and globally important conservation tropical rainforests in terms of species biodiversity density and natural ecology, making it remarkably relevant to the “Perak: Realm of Natural Wonders” theme.
Through the new conservation packages, standard vacation itinerary that is usually offered in Royal Belum will be added with extra days that will be filled with various activities related to the conservation and preservation of its biodiversity, including a visit to the Jahai aboriginal village, the only aboriginal tribe that lives in the Royal Belum rainforest.
This package was launched during ITB Berlin, which was joined by Tourism Perak in collaboration with the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) and two other travel agencies.
The main uniqueness of this package is the opportunity to be introduced to the indigenous MENRAQ wildlife patrol team, which is Malaysia’s first community-based wildlife protection patrol team consisting entirely of Orang Asli (aboriginal) youths from the Jahai tribe.’
MENRAQ, which means ‘people’ in Jahai dialect, was co-founded by PSPC in collaboration with RIMAU (Malaysian Tiger Protection Association), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) dedicated to Malayan tiger conservation. MENRAQ was established in 2019 with the aim of complementing the State Park Rangers in anti-poaching patrolling and tiger protection missions in Royal Belum. This activity is key to protecting the endangered Malayan Tiger that is now at risk of extinction.
In addition to meeting the patrol team, tourists also can see for themselves how this group operates their mission during activities such as setting up camera traps, dismantling traps and snares, wildlife monitoring and more.
The patrolling work by the indigenous people proves to be effective for tiger and wildlife protection. Equally important is the fact that it provides the Jahai youths and their community a livelihood while retaining the tradition of their ancestors and forefathers by protecting the forest and its biodiversity. To support this initiative, continuous funding is required to ensure that MENRAQ’s operations continue to be sustainable.
In addition to purchasing equipment such as camera traps, satellite phones, GPS trackers and other essentials like food rations, funding is also needed to train MENRAQ members with the necessary patrolling knowledge, skills, and use of technology. This includes patrol protocols utilising the SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) platform for data collection, and training for the security and safety of the MENRAQ team.
Malaysia is committed in its efforts to increase the population of Malayan Tigers, which according to the 2016-2020 National Tiger Survey, there are now than 150 tigers in the country, compared to 3,000 in the 1950s. The Malayan Tiger is only found in the Malay Peninsular and nowhere else in the world. As a matter of fact, Royal Belum State Park is one of the Malayan Tiger’s most critical habitats.
Through the special conservation-based tour packages, the international community can together play an important role in making the effort a success. Make your vacation meaningful by immersing yourself in the magnificent Royal Belum State Parks tropical rainforest while contributing to the conservation and preservation of biodiversity and the Malayan Tiger.
For more information on MENRAQ and the Malayan Tiger, visit RiMAU’s website at www.rimau.ngo. Any party who wishes to contribute to the MENRAQ programme without participating in the tour packages can donate through the same website.