Conservationists in Thailand have confirm the existence of the world’s second breeding population of Indochinese tigers, and provided the first photographic evidence of tiger cubs in Thailand’s Eastern Forest Complex.
A camera trap survey conducted using the “photographic capture-recapture” method in the country’s eastern Dong Phayayen – Khao Yai Forest Complex (DPKY-FC) during 2016 has revealed a density of 0.63 tigers per 100 square kilometers (~1.63 tigers per 100 square miles ), confirmed a joint statement released today by the DNP, counter-trafficking organization Freeland and global wild cat conservation organization Panthera.
While the scientific data suggests an exceptionally low tiger density — on par with some of the most threatened tiger habitats in the world — the findings, “demonstrate the species’ remarkable resilience given wildlife poaching and illegal rosewood logging present in the Complex,” the statement said.
“The extraordinary rebound of eastern Thailand’s tigers is nothing short of miraculous,” said John Goodrich, one of the world’s leading tiger experts and Senior Tiger Program Director at Panthera. The new photographic evidence from the DPKY-FC of successful breeding of tigers is the first to surface in over fifteen years, and is a rare conservation win on the way to ensuring the magnificent cat’s long-term survival in the wild. Previously, Thailand was thought to house only one remaining viable breeding population of wild Indochinese tigers, in Huai Kha Khaeng wildlife sanctuary to the west of the country, which was reported to have 35 – 58 individuals as of February 2016. The discovery of this “new” population is the result of months monitoring with specifically-designed camera traps, and weeks of hard trekking through the forest by rangers and conservationists throughout 2016.
“The stepping up of anti-poaching patrols and law enforcement efforts in this area have played a pivotal role in conserving the tiger population by ensuring a safe environment for them to breed,” the Director of the National Parks Division of the DNP Songtam Suksawang said in the statement. “However, we must remain vigilant and continue these efforts, because well-armed poachers still pose a major threat.”