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: Warning coloration paved the way for louder, more complex calls in certain species of poisonous frogs

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Protected areas offer glimmers of hope for wildlife

Oct 01, 2014

National parks and other protected areas offer hope for threatened species at a time of plunging wildlife numbers, conservationist group WWF said Tuesday, but their success has not been universal.

Bangladesh meet begins to save endangered tigers

Sep 14, 2014

Some 140 tiger experts and government officials from 20 countries met in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on Sunday to review progress towards an ambitious goal of doubling their number in the wild by 2022.

Global wild tiger population to be counted by 2016

Sep 16, 2014

Thirteen countries with wild tiger populations agreed Tuesday to take part in a global count to establish how many of the critically endangered animals are left and improve policies to protect them.

Recommended for you

Cat dentals fill you with dread?

Oct 24, 2014

A survey published this year found that over 50% of final year veterinary students in the UK do not feel confident either in discussing orodental problems with clients or in performing a detailed examination of the oral cavity ...

User comments : 0