Hope for the Tigers of Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex in Thailand
Across South East Asia, the endangered Indochinese tiger has been vanishing. Yet in Thailand’s, Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex, researchers from the University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) and collaborators with the Freeland Foundation and Thai government, have documented a tale of hope. WildCRU’s Eric Ash analyzed data from camera trapping studies in this site which revealed higher numbers than was previously thought and that this is one of the few remaining breeding populations of Indochinese tigers remaining in the world. However, pervasive threats to tigers from poaching risk, loss of habitat, and rapid infrastructure development casts a shadow over tigers in the region. Results from this work show tiger population density in DPKY remains low, and therefore vulnerable. Modelling of the tiger population in this landscape has provided insight into factors that may explain tiger presence as well as key constraints to population recovery and movement across the wider landscape. For wild tigers to continue to roam the forests of Asia, monumental investments must be made in assessing and protecting the vulnerable populations that remain. This research may prove vital in creating a road map for recovery of tigers in DPKY and elsewhere in the region.