AboutZoos, Since 2008


Tigers claw­ing back in South­east Asia, a con­ser­va­tion success

pub­lished 20 Feb­ru­ary 2016 | mod­i­fied 20 Feb­ru­ary 2016

Tigress and cub Thailand WCSA new study by a team of Thai and inter­na­tional sci­en­tists finds that a depleted tiger pop­u­la­tion in Thai­land is rebound­ing thanks to enhanced pro­tec­tion mea­sures. This is the only site in South­east Asia where tigers are con­firmed to be increas­ing in pop­u­la­tion. It is also the first-​ever long-​term study of tiger pop­u­la­tion dynam­ics in South­east Asia. The find­ings have been pub­lished online on 5 Feb­ru­ary in the jour­nal Con­ser­va­tion Biol­ogy.

More­over, the sci­en­tists feel even bet­ter days lay ahead for this pop­u­la­tion of the iconic carnivores.

The Gov­ern­ment of Thai­land in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Soci­ety (WCS) estab­lished an inten­sive patrol sys­tem in in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanc­tu­ary (HKK) in 2006 to curb poach­ing of tigers and their prey, and to recover what is pos­si­bly the largest remain­ing “source” pop­u­la­tion of wild tigers in main­land South­east Asia.

Thungyai Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife SanctuariesHuai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanc­tu­ar­ies, Thailand

Mon­i­tor­ing of the pop­u­la­tion for 8 years from 20052012 iden­ti­fied 90 indi­vid­ual tigers and an improve­ment in tiger sur­vival and recruit­ment over time.

This is an out­stand­ing con­ser­va­tion suc­cess com­ing from an area where wildlife has been strug­gling for some time
Joe Wal­ston, WCS Vice Pres­i­dent of Field Conservation »

The pro­tec­tion effort is pay­ing off as the years have pro­gressed, as indi­cated by the increase in recruit­ment, and we expect the tiger pop­u­la­tion to increase even more rapidly in the years to come,” said Som­phot Duangchantrasiri, the lead author of the study.”

To mon­i­tor the tigers, the sci­en­tists employed rig­or­ous, annu­ally repeated cam­era trap sur­veys (where tigers are pho­tographed and indi­vid­u­ally iden­ti­fied from their stripe pat­terns) com­bined with advanced sta­tis­ti­cal models.

This col­lab­o­ra­tion between WCS and the Thai gov­ern­ment used the most up-​to-​date method­olo­gies for count­ing tigers,” said Dr. Ullas Karanth, a senior sci­en­tist with WCS and one of the authors of the study. “It’s grat­i­fy­ing to see such rig­or­ous sci­ence being used to inform crit­i­cal con­ser­va­tion man­age­ment decisions.”

Analy­ses of the tigers’ long-​term photo-​capture his­to­ries and cal­cu­la­tions of tiger abun­dances and den­si­ties, annual rates of sur­vival, recruit­ment and other infor­ma­tion pro­vided sci­en­tists with direct, com­pre­hen­sive mea­sures of the dynam­ics of the wild tiger pop­u­la­tion in HKK.

Joe Wal­ston, WCS Vice Pres­i­dent of Field Con­ser­va­tion said, “This is an out­stand­ing con­ser­va­tion suc­cess com­ing from an area where wildlife has been strug­gling for some time. The result to date is reflec­tive of the com­mit­ment made by the Thai gov­ern­ment and its part­ners to Thailand’s nat­ural her­itage. And despite the con­sid­er­able gains made already, we believe the future looks even brighter.”

The authors note that 1015 years of inten­sive pro­tec­tion of source sites is required before prey pop­u­la­tions attain opti­mal den­si­ties nec­es­sary to sup­port higher tiger numbers.

(Source: WCS press release, 18.02.2016)

UN Biodiversity decade
WWF Stop Wildlife Crime
Fight for Flight campaign
End Ivory-funded Terrorism
Support Rewilding Europe
NASA State of Flux

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

about zoos and their mis­sion regard­ing breed­ing endan­gered species, nature con­ser­va­tion, bio­di­ver­sity and edu­ca­tion, which of course relates to the evo­lu­tion of species.
Fol­low me on: