A rare photo of a mother tiger and her cubs sparked hope for the endangered species in Thailand.
Hidden cameras placed throughout Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng wildlife sanctuaries showed images of 120 tigers over the course of a one-year period ending in April 2023. This number was an increase from the previous year’s sightings, which totaled 100 tigers.
While the recent increase in sightings reveals the species’ headway, there is still a long way to go in terms of conservation efforts.
“It shows we are going in the right direction but still we are alert, and still watching the situation,” said Somphot Duangchantrasiri, the head of Khao Nang Ram wildlife research station at the Department of National Parks. “If we stop what we are doing, then the number could go down.”
Despite these rising numbers, tiger populations in Southeast Asia are still in critical danger.
Poaching has been one of the main reasons Thailand’s tiger population has experienced rapid decline in the past. Since the beginning of the 1900s, the tiger population has dropped 97%, declining from 100,000 tigers to only 3,200 wild tigers today.
However, increased patrolling has helped reduce the number of poached tigers, according to Duangchantrasiri.
Conservationists have also been working to restore the population of key tiger prey, such as the sambar deer. Duangchantrasiri believes the increase in deer has also contributed to the tiger population’s recovery.
The cub sighting is a critical turning point, according to conservationists in Thailand.
“This is a big news for us,” said Rattapan Pattanarangsan, the conservation programme manager at the NGO Panthera Thailand. “But now we are the source, we can produce tigers from our place. That means our place is safe enough and has enough prey for the mothers to eat and breed.”
Join our free newsletter for cool news and cool tips that make it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.