Hopes rise for critically endangered big cat, with merely 221 Indochinese tigers thought to remain in Thailand and Myanmar
The critically endangered Indochinese tiger has been found to be breeding in a Thai jungle, hope for a subspecies whose its population may number merely a couple of hundred.
Conservation authorities in Thailand, along with two international wildlife organisations, released photographs of new tiger cubs in the countrys east.
The images support a scientific survey that confirmed the existence of the worlds second breeding population. The other breeding grounds is in the Huai Kha Khaeng wildlife sanctuary in western Thailand.
The Department of National Parks of Thailand, the anti-trafficking group Freeland and Panthera, a wildcat preservation organisation, said only 221 Indochinese tigers were estimated to remain in just two Asian countries, Thailand and neighbouring Myanmar.
The group said it had been tracking the tiger population since 1999 and, for the first time last year, camera traps had photographed six cubs from four mothers.
Poaching for the illegal wildlife trade stands as the gravest threat to the survival of the tiger, whose numbers in the wild have dwindled from 100,000 a century ago to 3,900 today, the agencies said in a statement.
It noted the tigers remarkable resilience devoted wildlife poaching and illegal rosewood logging in the eastern jungle.
Indochinese tigers are smaller than the better-known Siberian or the Bengal subspecies, which is the most numerous with a total population estimated at 3,500.
Tigers, which once ranged across much of the region, are all but extinct in south China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and much of Myanmar. Although there is no evidence of their medicinal consequence, tiger bones are used in traditional Asian remedies such as health tonics.
Read more: www.theguardian.com