New tigers found in Thai wildlife sanctuary
Three new tigers have been spotted in one of Thailand’s wildlife sanctuaries, the first confirmed new members of that sanctuary’s population in over 30 years and an evidence that the Kingdom’s efforts to protect its big cats in the wild continue to bear fruit.
The three new tigers are a mother and her two cubs. Three other tigers were also spotted as they had migrated from another nearby sanctuary. All six were photographed by camera traps, while researchers were able to identify the migrant tigers by the patterns of their coats. The area was declared a wildlife sanctuary in the 1970s when the big cats were spotted.
It is not clear if the mother and her cubs were the same tigress and three cubs caught on a one-minute video recently published by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP). It is extremely rare for big cats to be caught on video in the forest.
“I have seen many camera trap videos of tigers, but this one really stands out. It is beautiful,” said Dr. Rungnapa Phoonjampa, WWF-Thailand’s Senior Project Manager. “Many people are giving their time and effort into protecting Thailand’s tigers, such as the dedicated ranger teams and conservationists, and it is so rewarding to see this kind of video. It motivates us to keep going,” he added.
Thailand’s tiger population in the wild has been estimated at only 148 to 189 cats. Most, if not all, live in the Upper Western Forest Complex near the border with Myanmar and that links together several sanctuaries and forests.
Globally, tigers are critically endangered. Only about 13,000 exist with roughly 8,000 in captivity and 5,000 in the wild. Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia where the number of tigers in the wild has been rising, thanks to commitment and conservation on the part of successive governments.
The video of the tigress and her cubs in the forest can be viewed at: