Tigers in Thailand

Thailand is estimated to be home to some 250 to 300 tigers in the wild, but their numbers are extremely vulnerable, threatened by habitat loss and poaching. Increasingly, the country’s national parks are being encroached upon by human development, above all in the form of monoculture plantations, roads and second homes for Bangkok’s rich.

Thailand’s jungles hide surprise increase in tiger numbers Biologists in Thailand have filmed a previously unknown group of tigers on hidden cameras in an area of Thap Lan national park – but the rising loss of habitat and the threat of poachers casts doubts on this unexpected hope. The evidence suggests this single national park may have more tigers than the whole of China.

Thap Lan, with its spectacular forests of saw-bladed plan palms, is an oasis of biodiversity amid expanding human development. Elephants, clouded leopards, spotted linsang, boar and deer thrive below the canopy, which is filled with the song of myna, lapwings, laughing thrushes and other exotic birds.

Locals have long insisted that tigers also prowl in this area. Camera traps, triggered by heat and movement, have been left strapped to trees for a month. Some have been destroyed by wild elephants or infested by nesting ants, but the memory cards inside have yielded a trove of images of bears, leopards, itinerant monks, as well as tigers and – worryingly – armed poachers.

Can 2000 Wild Tigers Find Sanctuary in Thailand Forest? (Nat Geo)

Surveys have determined that there are currently about two tigers per 100 square kilometres or 60 tigers in the Western Forest Complex. The area suffers mainly from poaching, and currently has a tiger population that is likely in the low hundreds with room to grow. This site has the potential to hold nearly 2,000 tigers, which would make it the largest wild tiger population in the world, WCS-Thailand experts estimate.

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