Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers
MYCAT is a programme of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), TRAFFIC, Wildlife Conservation Society-Malaysia, Wildlife Society of Selangor (WILD) and WWF-Malaysia, supported by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (DWNP).
MYCAT is completely administered by WILD. Administratively, WILD is appointed by the partner organizations to administer and manage all MYCAT programs in compliance with Malaysian laws. Previously, the MNS Selangor Branch administered finances, and WWF-Malaysia and TRAFFIC administered Human Resources for all MYCAT programs. These roles have now been consolidated by WILD.
MYCAT began in 2003 as a platform between the partner NGO’s for communication and collaboration with an emphasis on sharing information and resources and cooperation towards the common goal of saving Malayan tigers.
Through this platform, the Malaysian government developed the country’s first National Tiger Conservation Action Plan in 2008. Among the more notable advocacy campaigns, were the incorporation of better wildlife laws in Malaysia, including Malaysia’s Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 and the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008. MYCAT also advocated for a change in the legal status of the sambar deer, a key prey species for tigers, to a totally protected species.
In the subsequent decade, the platform initially created to close the communication gap between the NGOs and the government, has gradually evolved to engage members of the public for a greater stride towards the recovery of wild Malayan tigers. With the motto of Saving Tigers Together, the Citizen Action for Tiger (CAT) program includes Wildlife Crime Hotline, antipoaching surveillance patrols (known as CAT Walk), community ranger, community outreach and reforestation.
Who we are
In the construction of every arch, engineers usually place what is known as a keystone at it’s apex to lock the stones in position. The MYCAT Secretariat’s Office (SO) does just that by bringing individual partner organisations together, thus forming the stable yet beautiful arch known as the MYCAT Working Group (WG). The MYCAT WG comprises members from the partner organisations and MYCAT SO.
MYCAT Secretariat's Office
The MYCAT Secretariat’s Office (MYCAT SO) refers to the secretariat of the alliance, which facilitates communication between the partners. Helmed by tiger biologist Dr. Kae Kawanishi, the MYCAT SO also coordinates and implements joint initiatives that range from operating the Wildlife Crime Hotline to mobilising armies of CAT Walk volunteers to safeguard critical wildlife habitat.
MYCAT General Manager Dr. Kae was born in Japan but moved to the USA in 1986, where she obtained a B.S. in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University and a M.S. in Applied Ecology and Conservation Biology from Frostburg State University. After three years of rigorous fieldwork on tiger ecology in Taman Negara, Malaysia, she received a PhD in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida in 2002. She subsequently served the Government of Malaysia – the first foreigner to join the civil service under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment – as Technical Advisor in research and conservation with DWNP until 2006. During this time, she persuaded the government to spearhead a formal alliance with NGOs to better communicate, coordinate and consolidate resources for tiger conservation, and MYCAT was born.
The MYCAT Working Group is the unique engine behind the MYCAT machine comprising representatives from MYCAT partners and MYCAT SO. It is a gathering of the best minds and muscles in conservation, bringing the perspectives of their individual organisations to the table to keep each other updated and mobilise joint conservation action. Over the years, WG members have changed, with the baton being passed to younger members of the fraternity, with the spirit of partnership stronger than ever.
Clockwise from left: Suzalinur Manja Bidin (MYCAT SO), Low Chee Pheng (WCS-Malaysia), Elizabeth John (TRAFFIC SEA), Balu Perumal (MNS), Christopher Wong (WWF-Malaysia).
Head of Partner NGOs
I. S. Shanmugaraj Subramaniam
Executive Director of Malaysian Nature Society
Mr. I. S. Shanmugaraj Subramaniam is the Executive Director of Malaysian Nature Society. He has served the organisation for over 20 years and has championed its Environmental Education Division from the inception of Kuala Selangor Nature Park, Selangor in 1987 until the launching of the latest Vale Eco Centre in 2015.
His extensive expertise includes botany and entomology, with a special focus in forest species and forest planting in mangroves. He has also been instrumental in the development and establishment of the Environmental Education Centre, and developing environmental community-based programmes. Mr. Shanmugaraj has led the Kelab Pencinta Alam since 1991, which has a membership of 20,000 from 400 schools.
Regional Director of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia
The Director for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia, Ms. Kanitha Krishnasamy, has more than 15 years of knowledge and experience working in the conservation field in Southeast Asia. She currently helms the regional office and leads on TRAFFIC’s programmatic and operational developments.
She has extensive experience designing, developing and implementing TRAFFIC’s research, investigations, law enforcement support and policy and advocacy matters, working closely with governments and partners.
Dr. Mark Rayan Darmaraj
Director of WCS-Malaysia
Dr. Mark Rayan Darmaraj is the Country Director of WCS-Malaysia. He has about 20 years of experience in wildlife conservation in Malaysia. He completed his PhD in Biodiversity Management in 2012 at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), University of Kent, UK and received the Thomas Huxley Prize award from the Zoological Society of London for the best PhD thesis in the UK for the year 2013 and the Fiona Alexander Prize award in 2014 for being an outstanding PhD student from DICE.
He is currently the only Malaysian with a PhD on tiger ecology and is a member of the IUCN’s Species Survival Comission – Cat Specialist Group for Malaysia. His prior conservation experience involved implementing conservation strategies that has contributed to the protection of habitats and species.
Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WWF-Malaysia
Ms. Sophia Lim was appointed as the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WWF-Malaysia in January 2019. Sophia brings with her an in-depth understanding of consumer markets across Asia, along with an impressive track record in leadership and managerial skills.
Ms. Sophia is also a nature lover and WWF-Malaysia’s conservation work has always inspired her to rethink the value of nature. She supports WWF’s urgent and global mission for a planet where people and nature can live in harmony.