WWF-Thailand’s position on the proposed Mae Wong Dam
In regard to the Office of Natural Resource and Environmental Policy and Planning’s (Onep) plan to examine the Mae Wong Dam project's health and environment impact assessment (EHIA) study today, WWF-Thailand would like to state clearly that 'We do not support the Mae Wong Dam project'.
Mae Wong National Park is a beacon of hope for tiger recovery efforts across Southeast Asia. Thailand hosts the largest tiger population in the Greater Mekong Region and a dam in the middle of this tiger habitat will do untold damage to their populations. In addition, it will seriously degrade the entire Mae Wong ecosystem, opening up the forest and its inhabitants to poachers and illegal loggers, and destroying the water and forest resources of local communities.
This dam is not an effective answer to the problem of poor water resources in the area. The construction of Mae Wong Dam will destroy many areas along the banks of the sensitive Mae Wong River, including areas that provide habitat and important food sources for much of the local wildlife. At most, the Mae Wong Dam will be the destruction of the hope, determination and dedication of all those who have worked so hard to protect the area, preserve its natural resources and look after its wildlife, especially Tigers.
As an indicator species of the ecological wellness of the forest, tigers are one of the most important elements of the ecosystem and they demonstrate the success of conservation work in Mae Wong forest and in Thailand. It would be a tragedy for Thailand to destroy this national treasure for a dam that is not needed and whose effects will be catastrophic to local communities and wildlife. Alternative methods of flood and drought control that do not destroy the ecosystem should instead be investigated.