“I’ve been wanting to work with Dr. Kae since we first met years ago”, exclaimed Datin Mina Cheah-Foong, Managing Director of The Body Shop Malaysia to a group of journalists from the English, Malay and Chinese-language media in Malaysia.
We were out on a CAT Walk, organised to launch a collaboration between The Body Shop and MYCAT to raise awareness and inspire action to save Malaysia’s tigers.
For many years now, The Body Shop has been running the Kick the Bag Habit Campaign to raise funds for various worthy causes ranging from environmental to human rights issues. Following recent studies that showed that there may only be 250-340 Malayan tigers left in the wild, it seemed timely for the campaign to be used to garner the support of the public to save Malaysia’s tigers.
“We had to do something to protect our tigers. It’s our symbol for so many things Malaysian: in the National Emblem of Malaysia, the national football team logo and so on. With our paper bags, not only does it act as a great tool to raise funds, it also helps with disseminating information to our customers,” shared Datin Mina.
Through this campaign, supporters can either choose to have their purchases in a ‘tiger’ bag for 50 sen, which will be donated to a fund, or decline a bag in which case The Body Shop will donate 50 sen to the fund.
Funds raised will be channelled to MYCAT’s advocacy efforts and the Citizen Action for Tigers (CAT) programme, which enables the public to help save wildlife by joining MYCAT on hikes (called CAT Walks) at a poaching hotspot and looking out for snares and other illegal activities.
And thus, a few lucky members of the media had the opportunity to go on a CAT Walk with two inspiring women – Datin Mina, who brought The Body Shop to Malaysia 31 years ago and Dr Kae, wildlife biologist, leading tiger expert in Malaysia and General Manager of MYCAT.
CAT Walkers also have the unique opportunity to check camera traps that have been set up at the edge of Taman Negara to monitor wildlife, and there were twitters of excitement as we saw images of an elephant herd, leopard, bear, and wild boar.
“While it is difficult to actually see wildlife in Malaysia’s dense tropical rainforest, images captured on our camera traps show the diverse wildlife that call the forest home, and that are benefitting from the protection provided by CAT Walkers,” said Dr. Kae Kawanishi, MYCAT General Manager who is also a renowned wildlife biologist.
At the end of the trip, Rama Lohan from The Star said: “It was a real eye-opener and drives home harder the message that we are responsible for the world we live in. We’ve destroyed most of the things that were meant to co-exist with us, but if we spend time lamenting the wrong, we’re not going to make time to do the right. It’s never too late to make a difference.”
Also, in effort to internalise conservation, The Body Shop invited MYCAT to give a talk to over 100 staff, including store managers from across West Malaysia. Brimming with questions which MYCAT gladly answered, these managers will be the ones to explain to people about this campaign, the need to save tigers and the 24-hour Wildlife Crime Hotline. Talk about spreading the love (and word)!
Wong Pui May MYCAT Communications Officer