Tiger sightings in Thailand boost conservationists’ hopes

A century ago tigers were kings of the jungle across much of Southeast Asia. Literally so. The striped predators ruled supreme at the top of food chains in thick forests from Laos to Malaysia and from Burma to Vietnam.

No longer. Most of those forests have been felled or thinned and throughout their ranges in the region tigers are now down to their last few hundred individuals, clinging on for dear life with tooth and claw in the wild in the face of deforestation and poaching.

The Balinese and Javan subspecies of the stately animals have been extinct for decades and their Indochinese cousins have recently been declared extinct in Laos and Cambodia. Populations of Indochinese tigers still survive in Myanmar (formerly Burma), Vietnam and Thailand, but even there their situation is precarious.

And so it is a welcome development that working together Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), the international conservationist group Panthera and the Zoological Society of London have managed to capture high-quality footage and photos of several wild tigers in Thailand for the first time in four years.

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