A bit of good news for tigers in Thailand and a much needed boost of morale for conversationalists in Thailand, the Indochinese Tiger seems to be thriving in certain protected habitats in the country. Seems like this problem of overcrowding may not really be an issue but rather a boon which will help repopulate other “empty” forests throughout Thailand?
Reading this article, I can’t help but think that this is exactly the same issue the Gurney’s Pitta is facing in Thailand. The population of the species has been steady for a number for years until recently when their numbers began to decline at a rather alarming rate (due to trapping and further reduction of viable habitat). Talking with the famed Khun Yothin regarding this bird, his impression is that the population of this bird has peaked in the past and couldn’t get any higher due to the lack of suitable habitat. The question we face is can we find another site in the country with suitable habitat for the Gurneys Pitta? If not, we may be looking at a slow and painful demise of a bird once endemic to Thailand and among one of the most sought after by birders the world over.
Please post your thoughts and views in the comments forum below.
Wild Tigers Crowding Habitats
by Apinya Wipatayotin
The number of wild tigers is increasing to the delight of conservationists, but a new problem is now emerging - their habitats are running out.
The National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department plans to increase tiger territory to accommodate the growing number of the animals in Huai Kha Khaeng and Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuaries.
The growing number of tigers is the result of a successful crackdown on poachers and efforts to provide more forest areas for the animals to forage for food. The country now has 250 tigers, with most of them found in the two sanctuaries.
The sanctuaries are adjacent to national parks in Uthai Thani, Kanchanaburi and Tak provinces.
Covering 622,200 hectares, they form the largest protected area in Southeast Asia and were listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1991.
Saksit Simcharoen, chief of the department’s wildlife conservation division, said the two sanctuaries might not have enough territory to handle the rising number of tigers which will also result from the department’s policy of doubling their population. The sanctuaries are home to about 100 tigers.
He said Mae Wong National Park in Kamphaeng Phet, Tab Lan National Park in Prachin Buri and Dong Payayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex in Nakhon Ratchasima might be chosen as new tiger habitats.
Staff would check the number of tigers, and introduce a patrol system to tackle poachers in Mae Wong National Park and Tab Lan National Park, where wild tigers are also thought to live. The parks are adjacent to Huai Kha Khaeng and Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuaries.
“We know of 15 female tigers which are pregnant, which is a satisfying reproduction rate. We have to expand their habitats urgently to accommodate the baby tigers,” he said.
Robert Steinmetz, head of the conservation biology unit at WWF Thailand, said he commended the country’s efforts to protect tigers, which are now on the verge of extinction.