Fence to guide wildlife between Unesco parks

Highway 304's wildlife corridor links the Unesco World Heritage-listed Khao Yai and Thap Lan national parks. (Post Today photo)

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation will build two fences to guide wild animals, especially tigers, into using Highway 304's wildlife corridor linking the Unesco World Heritage-listed Khao Yai and Thap Lan national parks.

The wildlife corridor, which was officially opened in March this year, is on the Kabin Buri-Pak Thong Chai route in Prachin Buri.

Recent signs of animals using the corridor have been spotted above the new tunnels on Highway 304 linking Nakhon Ratchasima and Prachin Buri. 

Prawatsart Chanthep, head of Thap Lan National Park in Na Di district of Prachin Buri, said that they have found animal tracks, including those of serows and tigers since the corridor opened.  

He said that to ensure wildlife safety, the department plans to build a 10-kilometre fence guiding the animals to the corridor entrance in each park.

Their construction is expected to start in a few months with a 100-million-baht budget.

Mr Prawatsart said that to ensure the safety of animals, the fence will have to be constructed far from the road as well as wildlife communities living within the forest.

"Food trees" will also be planted to encourage them to follow and stick to the route. 

"This is something quite new to the department. It is the first time that we will build guide fences and we hope that they will increase the ability of wild animals to move freely between the two national parks, which have already been connected by the wildlife corridor," he said. 

The World Heritage Committee suggested that in order to save the sites from a road expansion project, the government should construct the corridor to join the two parks  and save wildlife from road accidents.

If the government had not, the sites would have been at risk of losing their world heritage status. 

Mr Prawatsart said he is confident the wildlife corridor will take tiger populations from Thap Lan National Park in Prachin Buri to Khao Yai National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima, which was once the country's main tiger habitat. 

According to a recent survey, he estimates that there are around 30 tigers living in Thap Lan National Park, 18 of which were identified by a research team. 

He said that if those tigers are able to move freely between the two national parks, they might be able to increase their numbers.