New population of rare tigers found in eastern Thailand - BBC News

It's nice to get some good news about a critically endangered tiger in eastern Thailand. At a time when there are too many stories of animals becoming endangered, news of a new population of the Indochinese tiger has been found in a national park in eastern Thailand. Camera traps discovered a small population with at least six cubs in the Thai jungle. Poaching and the loss of habitat have reduced the global population of the sub-species of tiger to less than 250. Conservationists said the success of the discovery was due to the stepping-up of anti-poaching efforts in the country. The counter-trafficking organization Freeland and Panthera, along with the wild cat conservation group, conducted a survey with the support of the Thai park authorities. Until this recent find, only one other breeding population of Indochinese tigers also in a Thailand national park was known.

The amazing rebound of the eastern Thailand's tiger is nothing short of miraculous, said Tiger program director at Panthera, John Goodrich. The stepping up of anti-poaching patrols and law enforcement efforts in this region have played a major role in conserving the tiger population by ensuring a safe environment for them to breed. However, just because of the recent find doesn't mean efforts should slow down. It is important that everyone remains vigilant and continue these efforts because well-armed poachers still pose a major threat to the animal. The numbers of tigers in the wild have dwindled from over 100,000 just a century ago to only 3,900 today. Thailand was the first country in this area to deplete its forests, to such a bad extent that by the 1980s it had banned logging. It was also among the first countries to establish national parks, but initially, these parks were badly stressed by illegal logging and illegal hunting. At the time, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam had a lot of pristine forests left, that had healthy populations of tigers. Tigers had declined in Thailand to the point in the early 2000s that it was thought they were very small and fragmented. But since then, the massive illegal exploitation has badly depleted the forests and tiger populations in the other countries even in Myanmar to the point where in Cambodia it is believed that the Indochinese tigers are extinct. And there may be only a handful of tigers left in Laos and Vietnam. Meanwhile, improved conservation strategies and laws have allowed the tiny population of Indochinese tigers in Thailand to slowly recover in some areas, although they have sadly disappeared in others. So, with its reasonably well-run national parks, Thailand finds itself unexpectedly the last stronghold of the Indochinese tiger.

Freeland is a counter-trafficking organization that is working to have a world free of wildlife trafficking and human slavery. The mission of this organization is to innovate, develop and to continually improve the programs and the tools that help to empower society to overcome organized crime and corruption to restore secure, resilient communities and ecosystems. The strategic goals of the organization include transforming human behavior to help weaken/disable wildlife and human trafficking. Secure and analyze wildlife and human trafficking supply chain data to inform our comprehensive response. The organization develops policies and laws that sustain and strengthen effective CWT and C-TIP responses. They also help to empower local governments and civil society to dismantle transnational organized crime syndicates.

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