KUALA LUMPUR: The government has launched the "Safe Tapir Crossing (STC)" programme to hopefully arrest the dwindling number of tapirs in the country. Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Hamim Samuri said the RM180,000 programme is part of the Central Forest Spine (CFS) and an initiative by Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan). "It is estimated there are 1,100-1,500 Malayan Tapirs in Peninsular Malaysia. It has been classified as a completely protected species. The main threat to the tapirs are rapidly decreasing habitats and quality dropping of their habitats due to forest clearing, farming and settlements. Due to the disturbance from these activities, the tapirs often leave their habitats and roam near human dwelling and sometimes end up as roadkill," he said at the launch of Tapir Awareness Campaign 2016 here today. He said between 2010-2015, Perhilitan had received 68 reports of tapir spotting or disturbances with 35 tapirs ending up as roadkill. "The ministry realises that this is a problem and have taken some initiatives to protect the tapirs. For a start, 24 tapir crossing signs, 37 sets of Transvers Bars and 24 Amber Lights have been placed at areas identified to have the presence of the animal in Johor. The project will be done in other areas especially in areas that are wildlife crossing spots," Hamim added.