Commonly referred to as the ‘king of fruits’, the Durian is loved by many people in Southeast Asia and recently also in China. Malaysia is one of the major exporters of this growingly popular fruit, and tourists even visit the farm to taste it. With durian imports surpassing $1 billion U.S. dollars in 2016, its price is getting increasingly higher and plans for large-scale Durian farming have been launched.
Then there are Malayan tigers, believed to be about 300 of them living near vegetation fields near Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, and Johor (area that borders Singapore). The problem with the burning of forest to clear the way for Durian farms is that the Hulu Sempan area is near a protected area where the tigers live. Such expansion of Durian farms can lead to fragmentation of tiger population and destruction of wildlife habitat.
It seems like de-ja-vu. Just like how the expansion of palm-oil plantations destroyed wildlife habitat and endangered orangutans, the increasing demand for Durians and the greed for profit is driving another endangered species towards extinction.
- Ellis-Petersen, Hannah. “China’s Appetite For ‘Stinky’ Durian Fruit Threatening Endangered Tigers”. The Guardian, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/24/chinas-appetite-for-stinky-durian-fruit-threatening-endangered-tigers.
- “Demand For Durians Threatens Tigers, Water Supply In Malaysia As Jungles Razed”. The Straits Times, 2018, https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/demand-for-durians-threatens-tigers-water-supply-as-jungles-in-malaysia-razed.