Swimming tiger (© Zoonar/Marcel Schauer)

The most important expansion area for tigers, living wild in Thailand, is located in the so-called Western Forest Complex. This forest region is a mosaic composed of connected wildlife preserves in western Thailand along the border to Myanmar. With its 7,230 square miles it represents one of the largest connected forest preserves in Southeast Asia. About 130 of the still remaining 196 Indochinese tigers live in this area. The national parks Mae Wong, Khlong Lan, Umphang and Khlong Wang Chao provide tigers a suitable habitat and promise good chances to reestablish the Thai tiger population there. The following three components are prerequisites to accomplishing this ambitious goal.

 

1. Investigation of the population growth of tigers and their prey

To provide a scientific basis to examining habitat and behavior of tigers and their prey, rangers in the wildlife preserves must be appropriately trained. Special attention must be paid to working with camera traps because they increasingly help to document the expansion of the animals. In the protected area about 160 camera traps have been installed until now which are checked regularly. The photographs provided so far evidence for 32 different mammals, including classic tiger prey: sambar deer and muntjak (also a type of deer), gaur (wild beef), and wild boar. Additionally, among other big cats (various leopard) at least ten adult tigers could be identified.

2. Improvement of species protection methods in order to prevent tiger poaching

In order to protect tigers more effectively against poachers and to better control preserve areas, Thai rangers must be trained and employed. They need to be trained up in various disciplines, for example in survey methods, patrol techniques, and map reading. So far about 140 rangers have been trained, who are now employed in small teams of 5 to 6 people surveying and guarding the national parks.

3. Stronger inclusion of the local populace in protection efforts in order to make wildlife conservation sustainable

In addition to protecting habitat and wildlife, the rangers’ main activities include conducting awareness campaigns in the villages about the impact of illegal trade in wild animals and to make the local community part of their wildlife conservation efforts. Additionally the rangers are also responsible for supporting comprehensive campaigns at universities and schools. In this way, already several thousand students could be informed about tiger protection efforts and how they can contribute.

Tiger protection can only be successful long-term when human populations of local neighboring villages support protective measures, and children and young adults are sensitized to ecology and wildlife protection through university and school programs.

 

How we are helping...

As a strong presence of rangers in the national parks is key to increase the number of tigers, the A World for Tigers Foundation focuses on the construction of ranger stations and training of new rangers in the national parks.

With about 140 rangers, and 160 installed camera traps, a solid basis for the success in this area has already been established. To provide for a successful and sustainable protection of the animals, we require more rangers who directly combat poachers, rescue injured animals from wire traps and who can engage in the villages in comprehensive information campaigns about impacts of illegal wild animal trade.

To this end, all donations will be used in their entirety to training and equipment of rangers, the construction of ranger stations and in awareness campaigns in villages and schools. Help us give tigers a future – it is not too late!