Thailand 'has highest number of wild tigers in Southeast Asia'

Thailand 'has highest number of wild tigers in Southeast Asia'

Thailand has the highest number of wild tigers in Southeast Asia thanks to a national conservation project implemented since 2010, according to Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Varawut Silpa-archa.

Yesterday, at an event commemorating International Tiger Day held at Bueng Chawak Chalermphrakiat in Suphan Buri, Mr Varawut said the National Strategy for Tiger Conservation 2010-2022 endorsed by the government has played a key role in protecting the big cats.

He said Thailand was praised for its efficient wildlife conservation efforts by its Asean counterparts at the 4th Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation held from Jan 19 to 21 in Malaysia.

"Thailand's tiger conservation and population recovery plans are certified by international standards. We have successfully improved their habitation areas by using the latest technology and the smart patrol system," said Mr Varawut.

He said the tiger population in the Thungyai and Huai Kha Khaeng wildlife sanctuaries increased from 42 in 2012 to 100 this year as a result of the smart patrol system.

The same technology has been installed in 213 protected forest parks.

Mr Varawut said the government aims to make Thailand the leading country in Southeast Asia in terms of the size of its tiger population by 2034.

Phadet Laithong, director of the department's Wildlife Conservation Office, said India has the highest tiger population in the world.

"We have seen tiger footprints from the cameras installed in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, and it is estimated there are 148-149 tigers in the forests, the highest number in Southeast Asia," said Mr Phadet.

"To conserve tigers means to conserve the forests where animals live. The biodiversity of an area always correlates with its tiger population."



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