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The Tiger Recovery Project
© © naturepl.com / Edwin Giesbers / WWF

Tigers (Panthera tigris) are threatened with extinction as a result of poaching, habitat loss and prey depletion. The global tiger population is estimated to be approximately 4,000 adult tigers, with no more than 250 occurring in Thailand.

Jungle creak in Mae Wong national park

Thailand’s Western Forest Complex (WEFCOM) is one of the most important habitats for tigers in Southeast Asia. Recent research shows that Mae Wong and Khlong Lan National Parks within WEFCOM still contain good habitat for tigers and their prey and are prime targets for tiger recovery. Hence, the project “Tiger and Prey Recovery and Participatory Conservation” in Mae Wong and Khlong Lan National Parks was launched through the collaboration of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation (DNP) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Thailand.

© © Ola Jennersten/ WWF-Sweden
WWF Thailand Tiger Conservation Program

Following Thailand’s National Tiger Action Plan that aims to increase Thailand’s tiger population by 50 percent before the next year of the tiger in 2022, the main goal of this project is the long-term recovery and maintenance of both tiger and prey populations. To reach this goal, an active wildlife and habitat monitoring system is needed, including increased patrolling and suppression of wildlife trade, and public participation in natural resource protection and management.

© DNP-WWF-Thailand

With the DNP and our neighbouring NGOs, we strengthen patrolling tactics and security for forest rangers with the use of Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART Patrol). Each ranger learns how to correctly use a map, compass and GPS to collect data to provide a better understanding of the landscape and its wildlife, with the aim to improve patrolling and cooperation among conservation groups in the vicinity. By collecting evidence in the forest, whether of poaching snares or animal tracks, WWF-Thailand works with DNP’s rangers to better understand the landscape and expand patrolling routes in order to reduce poaching and monitor wildlife species.
To keep tiger populations thriving, it is just as important to keep their prey population thriving. We work to ensure food sources for such mammal and ungulate species by increasing grass areas and artificial salt licks for prey while also using camera traps to monitor their populations and the effectiveness of our project. So far, we’ve identified four species that our project benefits, including the muntjac, deer, gaur and elephant.
Meanwhile, our Community Outreach team goes out to teach students and villagers living near MWKL to garner interest, knowledge and appreciation of tigers. So far, our activity has attracted 1,000 students from ten schools and 3,600 villagers from ten villages.
By organizing outdoor activities for the community, these projects not only educate locals about the importance of nature and wildlife conservation in their hometowns, but also empowers them to preserve these natural habitats by instilling in them a sense of pride and appreciation for the wildlife that shares their landscape.

Camera trap in Mae Wong National Park found a resident tiger