Rare tiger sighting raises Southeast Asia conservation hopes
01 August, 2020, 02:57
Once ranging across Asia, tigers have been wiped out in southern China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and much of Myanmar.
A tiger is pictured from a camera trap from the western forest of Thailand, in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters in July 28, 2020.
The video and photographs show three male tigers roaming at night, with one walking directly towards the camera and sniffing the lens. "Despite India's constraint of 2.5 per cent of global land, four per cent of rainfall and 16 per cent of world's human population, India is home to eight per cent of world's biodiversity which includes 70 per cent of the world's tiger population", he said.
Two years from the 2022 target set by world leaders to double global tiger numbers under the Global Tiger Recovery Programme, tigers are faring better in some nations, including India and Nepal, but are collapsing in many other destinations.
There are fewer than 4,000 tigers remaining in the wild today, down from 100,000 a century ago.
In April 1973, when the population of the tigers in India was nearing extinction, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi established the National Tiger Conservation Authority, popularly known as Project Tiger.
There are estimated to be about 160 Indochinese tigers left in the wild in Thailand, which has stepped up its conservation efforts over the last decade.
To celebrate the essence of this day, National Geographic showcased a 3-hour Tiger Day special stack on its sister channel Nat Geo WILD, giving a sneak-peek into the dramatic lives of the tigers in the country.
The new sightings in Thailand then are hugely important for the survival of the entire species.
Describing the footage as "very exciting", John Goodrich, Panthera's chief scientist said: "It's a good indicator that what we're doing is working".
DG Forests Sanjay Kumar, meanwhile, said since the tiger was an "umbrella species", its conservation enables the conservation of their entire ecosystems. "Sustained and stronger protection of this area from poaching activity of any kind is the key to ensuring these individuals live on, helping Thailand's tigers to rebound".
In 2016, another breeding area for the Indochinese tiger was found in eastern Thailand, inside the UNESCO World Heritage site of Dong-Phayayen Khao Yai forest. The tigers' detection in new areas suggests habitat and prey now exists for this small population, he added.
"The situation for tigers worldwide remains precarious, but successes like this show that through our work with communities and governments, we can see populations start to recover", said Dr. Eileen Larney of the zoological society.
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