In a welcome sign of hope for the endangered tiger, a new scientific survey has confirmed the presence of the world’s second breeding population of Indochinese tigers and provided the first photographic evidence of tiger cubs in eastern Thailand in more than 15 years. Authorities have announced the discovery of 18 tigers living and breeding in the Dong Phaya Yen-Khao Yai World Natural Heritage Site. They were discovered by surveillance cameras and seen on several occasions between June 2016 and February 2017.
Of the 18, five are male and seven are female, with six cubs. The discovery was the result of collaboration between the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), Freeland, a frontline counter-trafficking organization, and Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization. Authorities hailed the finding as a critically timed victory for the future of the Indochinese tiger and pointed out the discovery indicates the health of the region, as tigers can only exist in a healthy ecosystem.
Worldwide it is estimated only 4,000 tigers are still in existence from a previous tally of over 100,000. – The Nation Footnote: The Dong Phaya Yen-Khao Yai Forest Complex spans 230 km between Ta Phraya National Park on the Cambodian border in the east, and Khao Yai National Park in the west. The site is home to more than 800 species of fauna, including 112 mammal species (among them two species of gibbon), 392 bird species and 200 reptile and amphibian species.
It is internationally important for the conservation of globally threatened and endangered mammal, bird and reptile species, among them 19 that are vulnerable, four that are endangered, and one that is critically endangered. The area contains substantial and important tropical forest ecosystems, which can provide a viable habitat for the long-term survival of these species.