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Prince Albert II meets Asian elephants and tigers

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Prince Albert II visited Malaysia's national tiger and Asian elephant conservation centres - © Michael Alesi / Prince's Palace

The Sovereign was in Malaysia on a diplomatic visit.

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Prince Albert II concluded his State visit to Malaysia on Tuesday 28 November. Received by King Abdullah Shah, the Prince was invited by the Malaysian Sovereign and his son, Hassanal Shah, to the Malayan Tiger Conservation Center and the Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Center.

Two exemplary facilities for the protection and defence of animal species that are threatened by poachers and deforestation. The Tiger Conservation Center takes in wild tigers that are injured or tigers from zoos, in order to teach them about life in the wild and/or reintroduce them to that environment.

“As we know, in 1950 we had 3,500 tigers in the Malaysian Peninsula, but due to logging and forest loss caused by urban development, from a study carried out in 2016-2020 we found out that the tiger population had decreased to under 150 individuals nowadays. We are facing a critical moment, and that’s why we need to do a lot of effort to increase the population of tigers in the wild,” Mohamma Khairi Bin Ahmad, Director of the Centre, told Monaco Info.

Asian elephants are also protected by the State, thanks to the Kuala Gandah Centre, founded in 1989. The facility is home to around a dozen pachyderms that have fallen victim to human activity. After a short parade, the Prince and the King were able to get up close to the animals for a special moment with which to bring the Sovereign’s trip to a close.

Prince Albert II gave a very positive review of his visit to Monaco Info: “Entirely positive, because even though I had already been to Malaysia, and even though we already had ties, not only with the Royal Family but also with different economic stakeholders, I think it was important to open this Consulate. We had been looking to open a Consulate here in Kuala Lumpur for a number of years, and our new Consul, Dato’Sri Mohan Naresh, is very energetic, very determined. I’m sure he will represent the Principality very well and will take forward many of the issues we have been able to initiate. And then, of course, what an extraordinary welcome the delegation and I received here… (…) The great generosity and kindness shown by His Majesty the King and all his Family touched me deeply and, I believe, touched the whole delegation. The extraordinary visits to the tiger rehabilitation centre and elephant sanctuary are further proof of the Malaysians’ great interest in their natural environment and in two species that are emblematic not only of their country, but of Asia. They are keen to protect certain areas, to sanctuarise them, to do what needs to be done in terms of protecting natural environments to be completely in line with what is happening elsewhere, and with what we at the Foundation are also trying to promote. I think it was also important to start a conversation, which we did through the Economic Forum that we were able to organise thanks to our Consul, and where we were able to present not only the Principality’s economy, from different aspects, cultural and otherwise, but also from a sustainability and environmental protection point of view. I think it was very, very positive. There have already been a great many contacts, there are already some very good ideas on cooperation in different areas, particularly with the Foundation, and I’m sure we’ll be developing these relationships even further in the future. (…) It makes it easy when you are talking to people who share the same concerns and the same values, even though Malaysia and the Principality have different cultures and sizes. I think they are keen to be an integral member of the international community and to be open to the world, which is what we try to be in Monaco. I think we’re definitely going to come up with some very fine opportunities for cooperation and the development of these relationships that we hold dear.”