Kanchanaburi: At least six tigers have been found in Salak Phra Wildlife Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi for the first time in over 30 years.
Seree Makboon, chief of Khao Namphu Nature and Wildlife Education Centre, part of the 40,000-rai sanctuary, said trap cameras last year captured six Indochinese tigers.
He said officers can identify three tigers based on the tiger's skin print database as coming from Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in Tak province, north of the Salak Phra Wildlife Sanctuary.
The other three were a mother tiger and her two cubs. There is no skin print database for the group.
The officer said he believes one of the cubs was male and it was seen in January this year around Tha Thung Na Dam close to the sanctuary.
"It is hard to believe that the release of bantengs in the sanctuary in recent years has lead to the increase in tiger population. Our efforts have produced results beyond expectation," he said, adding the next step is ensuring their safety.
The presence of the tigers indicates the well-being of the forest ecosystem, he said.
Meanwhile, the Salak Phra Wildlife Sanctuary plans to merge two herds of banteng, one in the forest and the other in the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, to prevent inbreeding.
Khao Nampu Nature and Wildlife Education Centre released banteng to the forest in 2014 after success in breeding them. The breeders comprised one female and three male banteng from forests in Kampeng Phet and Phetchaburi and from the now-defunct Dusit Zoo in Bangkok.
The centre has released 16 banteng to nature so far. According to the latest survey, at least 43 bantengs are living in the forest of Salak Phra Wildlife Sanctuary.
The IUCN lists banteng on its red list for its risk of extinction.
He said the centre also keeps 17 bantengs at the centre to ensure the species' security because they all have pure local blood. "If there is outbreak of disease in the forest, there will still be some banteng left at the centre," he said.