TEMERLOH - After an initial delay, the RM45mil (S$17.8 million) Tiger Valley project in Lanchang - to house rescued tigers - will proceed as planned.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said that under the first phase, the perimeter fencing was currently being erected around the 200-acre site.
However, it would take slightly longer for the project to be fully completed and opened to the public, he added.
"Initially, we faced some problems acquiring land but the state government has already sorted this out with the villagers and land owners last year.
"Now, we are waiting for the necessary allocation from the Treasury to be released under the 11th Malaysia Plan.
"Regular discussions will be held with the state government on how to develop the area into an eco-tourism hub by introducing additional activities to bring in more visitors," he said after a working visit to the National Elephant Conservation Centre in Kuala Gandah and the Biodiversity Institute near here.
Palanivel, who is also the Cameron Highlands MP, said that upon completion, the site would accommodate tigers of the panthera tigris jacksoni species, commonly known as Malayan tigers. These tigers, rescued from the wild after running into conflict with humans, would be placed in the new home and open for public viewing, he added.
"We are also looking into transferring some tigers from the rescue centre in Sungkai, similar to the relocation of rescued elephants to Kuala Gandah for rehabilitation," he said.
He said he was told that 15 rescued tigers, including 10 females, were being looked after in Sungkai, adding that other animals such as seladang had also been rescued and placed under the care of Perhilitan.
Palanivel said he would discuss with the Prime Minister for additional allocation to carry out preservation and conservation efforts nationwide.
Malaysia, he added, had been blessed with natural resources, flora and fauna, including limestone caves and millions of acres of forested areas, and there must be efforts to maintain this for future generations and as tourist attractions.