The big cat is endangered. For the first time in four years, some tigers were caught on camera in western Thailand, home to about 160 specimens. Some 3,900 wild tigers still exist worldwide, most in India. The trade in protected animals is worth billions of dollars. By 2022, Thailand hopes to boost the tiger population by 50 per cent.
Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) – For the first time in four years, three rare Indochinese tigers were caught on video in western Thailand, on the border with Myanmar. The species is endangered, brought to the brink of extinction by poaching.
Remote camera traps captured three specimens in February and March. In one shot, a curious tiger comes right up to the camera to check out the device.
Released on Global Tiger Day, the footage was made public as part of a joint monitoring programme between Thailand, global wild cat conservation organisation Panthera and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
To protect the three young tigers from poachers, their exact location was not revealed. Only 3,900 wild tigers remain in the world, mostly in India, down from 100,000 a century ago. An estimated 160 live in Thailand.
Some tiger species have already become extinct in Southeast Asia, such as the Java and Bali tigers. The tiger populations in China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar have been virtually wiped out.
The illegal trade in protected wild animal species is worth billions of dollars. Tiger parts, such as bones and fur, are used in particular in traditional medicine.
However, the collapse of the Indochinese tiger population is also due to the destruction of their natural habitat as a result of deforestation and other human activities.
Seven years, the Thai government launched a plan to increase tiger numbers by 50 per cent by 2022, with some success.
In 2016, another breeding area for the Indochinese tiger was found in eastern Thailand, inside the UNESCO World Heritage site of Dong-Phayayen Khao Yai forest.
Other tigers are believed to live in Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries in western Thailand.