Six tigers might not seem like many, but seeing them in camera traps at a Thai wildlife sanctuary warmed the hearts of local conservationists and made headlines in the Southeast Asian country.
That’s because experts didn’t expect to find so many tigers in that protected forest area, as it is the first time in three decades that there has been an increase in Indochinese tiger numbers at the Salak Phra Wildlife Sanctuary in central Thailand.
One reason for the return of iconic predators to the area could be the renewed presence of wild cattle known as banteng, which often prey on predators.
“AND [posible] that the banteng release at the sanctuary in recent years has led to an increase in the tiger populationenthusiastic Seree Makboon, a local wildlife official. “Our efforts have produced results beyond expectations”.
Female and cubs among six tigers, hope for recovery
Of the six tigers, three are mothers with two cubs, which is an indication that the local tiger population may be recovering.
However, serious threats remain to Thailand’s striped predators, including poaching. In a bid to protect its embattled wild tiger population, Thailand has cracked down on poachers, imposing heavy penalties on those convicted of killing wild tigers.
Earlier this month, five local men who captured and killed a tiger and her cub last year in a national park were each given nearly five years in prison.
The country has the largest population of Indochinese tigers in its protected national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, but the predators still only number around 150 in the wild.
That makes their situation especially precarious in one of the last strongholds of these Indochinese cats, which have already been declared extinct in neighboring Cambodia and Laos.