Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni) - Wiki
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[Photo] Malayan Tiger Panthera tigris jacksoni in Camera Trap - Kae Kawanishi. From the SAVE THE TIGER FUND (www.savethetigerfund.org).
The Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni, Malay: Harimau Malaya), exclusively found in the southern part of the Malay Peninsula, until 2004 was not considered a subspecies in its own right. The new classification came about after a study by Luo S-J et al. from the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity, part of the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
Recent counts showed there are 600-800 Malayan tigers in the wild, making it the largest tiger population other than the Bengal and Indochinese tigers. It is, nevertheless, still an endangered sub-species. It is approximately the same length and weight as the Indochinese tiger.
When the Malayan Tiger was accepted as a sub-species of the tiger family, the news was warmly received in Malaysia. However, there was soon debate over the scientific naming of the Malayan Tiger. Researchers proposed a name to recognize Peter Jackson's work with big cats: Panthera tigris jacksoni.
However, the Malaysian Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria (MAZPA) and the Government of Malaysia protested, and argued that Malaysia should have been consulted over the naming of its national icon. Malaysia holds that the naming should reflect the geographical region, Malaysia. In Malaysia, therefore, the Malayan Tiger is known as Panthera tigris malayensis. The San Diego Zoo also uses this scientific name.
Malaysian national icon
The Malayan Tiger is a national icon in Malaysia, appearing on its coat of arms and in logos of Malaysian institutions such as Maybank, Filem Negara and FAM. It symbolizes bravery and strength to Malaysians. The tiger has been given various nicknames by Malaysians, notably "Pak Belang," which literally means "Striped Lad." Pak Belang features prominently in folklore as one of Sang Kancil's ("The Mouse Deer's") adversaries.
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