Study says 2000 tigers possible in Thailand

Dec 20, 2007

Thailand’s Western Forest Complex – a 6,900 square mile (18,000 square kilometers) network of parks and wildlife reserves – can potentially support some 2,000 tigers, making it one of the world’s strongholds for these emblematic big cats, according to a new study by Thailand’s Department of National Park, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation and the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society.

The study, which appears in latest issue of the journal Oryx, says that to make these numbers a reality, better enforcement to safeguard both tigers and their prey from poachers is critical.

According to the study, the entire Western Forest Complex currently supports an estimated 720 tigers. These tiger densities were lower than those reported by Wildlife Conservation Society scientists from some protected areas in India with similar habitat, but better enforcement. For example, tiger densities of as many as 12 tigers per 100 square kilometers were measured in India’s Nagarahole, Bandipur and Kanha forests, as opposed to four tigers per 100 square kilometers in Thailand’s Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary.

The authors of the study conducted intensive surveys of tigers in Huai Kha Khaeng, using camera traps to estimate a population size of 113 individual animals living in the 1,084 square-mile (2,810 square kilometer) protected area.

Despite the lower densities, plenty of good tiger habitat remains in Thailand, with 25 percent of the nation still forested, and 15 percent of it managed under wildlife protection legislation.

“Thailand has the potential to be a global centerpiece for tiger conservation,” said Dr. Anak Pattanavibool of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Thailand Program and a coauthor of the study. “This study underscores that there is an opportunity for tigers to thrive in Thailand – provided tigers and their major prey species are protected from poachers.”

“Working together with WCS scientists helps set a standard for tiger monitoring and conservation here in Thailand,” said Saksit Simcharoen, a tiger specialist working for the Thai government. “The tiger and prey population monitoring and patrol improvement systems have given people hope and direction to do better for tigers and other wildlife.”

Other Co-authors of the study included scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Though no truly accurate global numbers exist, conservationists roughly estimate that 5,000 tigers remain in the wild. 150 years ago, an estimated 100,000 tigers may have roamed throughout much of Asia.

Last year, the Panthera Foundation in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society announced its “Tigers Forever” program that pledges a 50 percent increase in tiger numbers in key areas over the next decade.

Source: Wildlife Conservation Society

Explore further: Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Diverse gene pool critical for tigers' survival

23 hours ago

(Phys.org) —New research by Stanford scholars shows that increasing genetic diversity among the 3,000 or so tigers left on the planet is the key to their survival as a species.

Five tiger cubs seized in Thai police wildlife haul

Feb 20, 2014

Thai police said Thursday they have seized five wild tiger cubs along with hundreds of other animals being smuggled to neighbouring Laos, for apparent onward sale in Vietnam or China as delicacies.

Indonesian clerics issue fatwa to protect wildlife

Mar 05, 2014

Indonesia's top Islamic clerical body has issued a religious fatwa against the illegal hunting and trade in endangered animals in the country, which the WWF hailed on Wednesday as the world's first.

Recommended for you

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

48 minutes ago

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

More vets turn to prosthetics to help legless pets

4 hours ago

A 9-month-old boxer pup named Duncan barreled down a beach in Oregon, running full tilt on soft sand into YouTube history and showing more than 4 million viewers that he can revel in a good romp despite lacking ...

Chimpanzees prefer firm, stable beds

13 hours ago

Chimpanzees may select a certain type of wood, Ugandan Ironwood, over other options for its firm, stable, and resilient properties to make their bed, according to a study published April 16, 2014 in the open-access ...

For cells, internal stress leads to unique shapes

14 hours ago

From far away, the top of a leaf looks like one seamless surface; however, up close, that smooth exterior is actually made up of a patchwork of cells in a variety of shapes and sizes. Interested in how these ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

More vets turn to prosthetics to help legless pets

A 9-month-old boxer pup named Duncan barreled down a beach in Oregon, running full tilt on soft sand into YouTube history and showing more than 4 million viewers that he can revel in a good romp despite lacking ...

Robotics goes micro-scale

(Phys.org) —The development of light-driven 'micro-robots' that can autonomously investigate and manipulate the nano-scale environment in a microscope comes a step closer, thanks to new research from the ...