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    The Indochinese Tiger – Part One: Thailand’s largest cat on the brink of extinction


    Indochinese tiger's last look in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary

    The Indochinese tiger Panthera tigris corbetti is in dire straits with no chance of recovery to the magnificent numbers of the past. The future of these remarkable cats is uncertain, as man in his relentless search for money has eradicated the tiger from almost every forest in the region for millennium. Humans have systematically poached the tiger for its bones and pelt of this very important carnivore, and also hunt their prey animals destroying the fine balance of life and death in the forests.

    Some two million years ago according to fossil evidence, the tiger evolved in Manchuria and Siberia. These predators came from saber tooth cats that thrived on the vast plains and forests at the time. The striped cat also moved west all the way to the Caspian Sea, and gradually moved south into China, Indochina and the islands of Sumatra, Java and Bali. About 10,000 years ago, the tiger went west from Indochina through Burma and ended up in India.
    At one time, there were more than a hundred thousand tigers throughout their entire range. There were eight sub-species and four are now extinct including the Caspian, Chinese, Javan and Balinese. The others are the Siberian, Indochinese, Sumatran, and the Bengal. Unfortunately, they are all on the brink of extinction and it is estimated only 3,500 tigers to a low of 3,200 survive in the wild. A decade ago, there were approximately 10,000.


    Male tiger camera-trapped on an old logging road in Kaeng Krachan National Park

    How many tigers are left in Thailand is the question most frequently asked. It is estimated that 200-250 survive in only several forests, mainly in the west, a few in the northeast and a few in the Deep South, and that is it. In the Western Forest Complex, there could be about 150 tigers but the majority of that survives in Huai Kha Khaeng and Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuaries, Thailand’s top protected areas and World Heritage Site. The rest of the complex is fragmented, as are the other protected areas throughout the nation. There are no tigers in the north, the east or the mid-south of the Kingdom.


    Tiger camera-trap close-up in Kaeng Krachan

    Man is responsible for this decline. The Chinese medicine trade is probably the number one reason so few tigers remain. At the moment it is reported that a sack of tiger bones fetches more than a 100,000 baht from a middlemen who then jack the price even higher. The incentive to poach these cats is very high among rural village folk and they use whatever method they can to kill the striped predator.

    Poisoning a snared deer or pig carcass is the number one way as it is silent, and it will get any creature that feeds on the dead animal, whether it is a tiger, leopard, bear or vultures, and a multitude of other creatures that eat carrion. More than a decade ago, the last red-headed vultures in Huai Kha Khaeng were killed in this way. This year, three tigers including a mother and two cubs were dispatched using poisoned remains here. One of them had its bones poached but they left the pelt (probably too heavy) where the poachers had butchered the young cat.

    Rangers out on patrol came upon the rotting carcasses. Too little and too late!
    It is without doubt the quality of the rangers and patrolling regimes in Huai Kha Khaeng and Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuaries is poor. Their budgets are small, training minimal, incentive low and number of personnel few in comparison to the importance and the size of these two protected areas as a whole. This universal problem throughout Thailand is the main reason so many forests have become depleted of any wildlife. With none, poor or loose patrolling, poachers slip in and out of the forest.


    Female tiger camera-trapped by the Phetchaburi River in Kaeng Krachan

    End-users like restaurants that offer wild meat are another reason for the depletion as the tiger’s prey species is slaughtered continuously to feed this voracious activity. Trophy hunting is another very serious problem that is carried out by rich and influential people using local poachers. Middlemen also flash money and provide food, guns and ammunition to promote the illegal trade in wildlife parts. Some of the poor people that live on the fringes of the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are easily influenced, and contribute heavily to the declining populations of all wild animals.

    Most of the rangers are local Thais or ethnic tribes people, and hence there are no secrets concerning patrolling regimes. It is easy for poachers to stay out of the ranger’s way. Ranger training and management in Huai Kha Khaeng/Thung Yai complex is provided by the Department of National Parks (DNP), and a New York based conservation NGO that unfortunately is poor judging from past performance.

    These people will tell you that their research and so-called smart patrol rangers that provide protection will save the tiger. But as everywhere, it is extremely difficult to prevent poachers from entering the forest and taking what they can. It is sad, but at the present rate of decline, tigers could be extinct in Thailand within a decade or so.

    An example of tiger depletion under the researchers nose has already taken place in India. Once the locals knew for sure tigers were in two protected forests after the scientific community had announced the program and the estimated population, it took one year for the poachers to wipe out the entire population of ten or so to nil.


    Male tiger camera-trapped by the Phetchaburi River

    Recently, the research people at Huai Kha Khaeng went on national TV about collaring the big cats and counting them with camera-traps in a two-part series. They even announced that there were about 75 individuals here, and the tiger’s home range was about 240 square kilometers. This is the only viable breeding population left in Thailand.

    It did not take long for the unscrupulous wildlife traffickers to perk-up and begin an assault on the sanctuary. In front of the headquarters area in Lan Sak, Uthai Thani province, snares and pipe guns are all over the place. It is very difficult and dangerous to patrol this area and there are tigers here where I photographed a tiger about five kilometres away from a noisy village. If these problems persist, the outcome certainly will not be rosy.

    Another serious problem is the law. In the event someone is captured in a forest reserve with animal parts and guns, the DNP are duly bound to send the poachers to the nearest police station and hand over the suspects to these authorities. The rangers are then sent back to the protected area and the police take over where corruption then comes into play. The culprit or culprits are then set free to break the law again. There are repeat offenders all over Thailand. Very few actually spend time in jail mostly paying small fines and loads of bribe money, and hence poaching continues unabated. I know a young man just south of Huai Kha Khaeng who is out over 140,000 Baht paying bribes to the police and the court after he was caught cutting trees in a national park.

    This is the sad state of affairs concerning these law-breakers with absolutely no chance of up-grading existing laws to better cope with this destruction. Finally, most rangers have very little incentive to protect and enforce the law due to low salaries, poor benefits and sometimes no payment for months on end. At the end of every year, temporary hire rangers don’t get paid for three-four months because of a breakdown in the monetary system forcing them to beg, borrow and steal. Some even become involved in the poacher’s activities or illegal logging, another serious problem for the reserves. This vicious cycle is ongoing and nature is taking a beating because of it.

    What are the options? Better management, enforcement, protection, more personnel and funding, and truly dedicated rangers who have incentive. They must be paid well and have fairly good benefits to survive. As it stands, many forest rangers are in debt because of the horrendous financial system. They struggle with life but the higher-ups (government and permanent staff) live in semi-luxury.

    A new ranger-training center should be set-up somewhere in Thailand (centrally located) to specifically train and educate new personnel for this difficult task. They should receive rank, good pay, benefits for them and their families, plus insurance in case something does happen. Some rank-and-file people in wildlife conservation are pushing for this but it could be sometime before any action will be taken to up-grade the rangers or add to their numbers.

    Another serious ailment is social drinking of rice wine. Some rangers stay permanently intoxicated, and believe me I know a few that are government employees and are incapable of taking care of the natural resources. But social-ills like this are just a small broken cog in the wheel of wildlife conservation. However, there are some very good people out there that do care about the forests and wildlife even under the hardships associated with taking care of the protected areas.

    As we carry-on with the 21st century, it is hoped that the Thai government will see the light one day and really take care of their natural heritage the way it should be. There have been some in-roads into capturing illegal wildlife traders and end-users but for everyone caught, how many are getting through? The government and NGOs should take notes from places like South Africa plus many other countries when it comes to patrol rangers and protection management. But Africa is mostly savannah and much more easily patrolled using aircraft and other high-tech applications unlike Thailand with its dense impenetrable forests.

    Thailand is not alone in the destructive activities of politicians, wealthy resort and golf club advocates, big logging companies, local government officials and their mega-schemes plus millions of poor people who encroach and poach in the reserved areas and take whatever they can to generate food or money. The population explosion in and out of the forests is another major concern for the future.

    As it stands, the countdown to extinction of the tiger and its prey species has already begun. All this doom and gloom is unfortunately very true, and only fast and decisive action by all parties concerned can help the future of the Kingdom’s tigers, and its magnificent wild heritage.

    Watch for the next post on 'How I photograph Thai tigers in the wild'.
    Last edited by Bruce Kekule; 16-07-2010 at 02:07 PM.

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    As usual, Bruce, a nice post. Magnificent animals.

    Unfortunately, again it's about a vanishing specie, not about a well-established or a recovering population. Too sad. If nothing is done, soon we only will be able to see the tiger in a zoo or at a buddhist temple.

    A shame, certainly in a country where so many brands/labels, as well as folk stories, movies and myths are related to the tiger.

    Thx for the pictures, but tell me, how do you get them to pose that close to your name sign every time?

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    As long as there are Chinese willing to pay large amounts of money for tiger bones & penis, ivory & sharks fin, there will be poor villagers that will be motivated to supply it. And corrupt officials are easily paid to look the other way.

    Great photoes Bruce, but a bit saddening too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gipsy View Post
    As usual, Bruce, a nice post. Magnificent animals.

    Unfortunately, again it's about a vanishing specie, not about a well-established or a recovering population. Too sad. If nothing is done, soon we only will be able to see the tiger in a zoo or at a buddhist temple.

    A shame, certainly in a country where so many brands/labels, as well as folk stories, movies and myths are related to the tiger.

    Thx for the pictures, but tell me, how do you get them to pose that close to your name sign every time?
    The zoos and temples that have tigers breed them for a reason, money. Unfortunately, most of the wild is going, going and gone but if you know where a well-established or recovering species is, let me know. There are plenty of places that have some animals that can be seen, but everywhere has poacher problems that just won't go away, and as the human population grows, so does the problem with disappearing wildlife.

    Facts are facts but if the powers to be (those taking care of the natural resources) would really take action, we could easily see where some species could make a comeback. It has been proven elsewhere that with full protection and a viable population, wild animals can bounce back, even with reintroduced species.

    In Photoshop, there is a tool called 'Layers', try it. I post my name on my photos because they get lifted and used by some people. If a photo goes out on the net, my name will be there and even then, they can digitize that out.

    Thanks Gypsy, for your comments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    As long as there are Chinese willing to pay large amounts of money for tiger bones & penis, ivory & sharks fin, there will be poor villagers that will be motivated to supply it. And corrupt officials are easily paid to look the other way.

    Great photoes Bruce, but a bit saddening too.
    Thanks, Sabang,

    I wish I could be more positive about all wildlife but I have been on the ground working in many protected areas in Thailand and I have seen it all. The problems with poaching and encroachment are universal almost throughout the world.

    Only dedicated patrolling and enforcement can make the difference and that's where the government is responsible for a strict mandate. As it stands, most are watching the natural world disappear before their eyes!

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    Great read, great photos, great insights.

    I was fortunate enough to see a wild tiger in Thailand last year in Thap Lan. I can still see every detail of it in my mind and its still makes me tingle to think about it.

    Well, now I am off for an exciting weekend of mushroom hunting in Dan Sai, not quite the same somehow.

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    I appreciate your compassion and concern, Bruce.

    Unfortunately the age of the large predators is over. At least outside of zoos.

    The smaller populations then are vulnerable to genetic degradation, and eventually extinction.

    I personally believe, ecologically, that one tiger is worth at least 100,000 people. But most people believe that one tiger is not worth even one person's life.

    They are doomed I'm afraid. And that is the saddest fact. I'm so sorry, beyond anger.

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    You got to admit that if you had a little sheep farm on the outskirts of one of the national parks, if everyday a tiger came in and took one of your sheep you would have to deal with it, I admit that is a minor point in the killing of these wild animals and poachers are the main culprits, but as there are so few each one counts.

    PS, Tiger skins are worth less than 10k baht in Thailand so probably not worth the poachers time.

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    Thanks Bruce....that was a nice post you did there with a very sad overtone. I believe that sadly there is little we can do to stop the decline of endangered species and that extinction is a part of the evolution of our planet. I do love animals but those are my beliefs. Perhaps one day humans with be faced with extinction also.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pangsida View Post
    Great read, great photos, great insights.

    I was fortunate enough to see a wild tiger in Thailand last year in Thap Lan. I can still see every detail of it in my mind and its still makes me tingle to think about it.

    Well, now I am off for an exciting weekend of mushroom hunting in Dan Sai, not quite the same somehow.
    Pangsida,

    Thanks for your kind words. Yes, you are lucky to have seen a wild tiger. They are just surviving here with a small population that has been camera-trapped in Thap Lan NP by Freeland (formally Wild Aid). Their ranger training is the best in Thailand as it consists of all aspects of enforcement and logistics concerning this very important aspect of wildlife conservation. Again, thanks for following my threads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Kekule
    Only dedicated patrolling and enforcement can make the difference and that's where the government is responsible for a strict mandate. As it stands, most are watching the natural world disappear before their eyes!
    It needs that, plus education of the people. enforcement on its own can only do so much.

    Ideally, lift the living standards of the villagers, give them another job as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    I appreciate your compassion and concern, Bruce.

    Unfortunately the age of the large predators is over. At least outside of zoos.

    The smaller populations then are vulnerable to genetic degradation, and eventually extinction.

    I personally believe, ecologically, that one tiger is worth at least 100,000 people. But most people believe that one tiger is not worth even one person's life.

    They are doomed I'm afraid. And that is the saddest fact. I'm so sorry, beyond anger.
    Michael,

    Thank you for your comments. Yes, it is disturbing that the tiger and other big cats is close to the end. However, if the Thai government could get their act together, the HKK/TYN complex could be the last great breeding ground for the tiger, plus the leopard and all their prey species. If the area is completely protected where no more poachers/encroachers enter to do their nasty business, the sanctuaries could really spring-back and be Asia's tiger showcase. Time is the only thing in the countdown to extinction so it is a wait and see if the tiger will survive in the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog View Post
    You got to admit that if you had a little sheep farm on the outskirts of one of the national parks, if everyday a tiger came in and took one of your sheep you would have to deal with it, I admit that is a minor point in the killing of these wild animals and poachers are the main culprits, but as there are so few each one counts.

    PS, Tiger skins are worth less than 10k baht in Thailand so probably not worth the poachers time.
    The main problem is the mentality of the middleman and millions of end-users of tiger parts around the world. This has gone on for centuries and there is no way it will go away anytime soon. End of story for the tiger.

    Have you ever wondered why so many tiger farms flourish in Thailand and other counties in Asia. It is rumored that some Chinese restaurants here in Bangkok that cater to rich Taiwanese offer tiger meat with the skin attached (hardly any value) obtained from tiger farms. They arrive on tour buses and are ushered into closed rooms where this gory meal is prepared. Bear paws to the Koreans is another horrendous practice. So much for the conservation of wildlife as this carries on in the 'City of Angels'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ossierob View Post
    Thanks Bruce....that was a nice post you did there with a very sad overtone. I believe that sadly there is little we can do to stop the decline of endangered species and that extinction is a part of the evolution of our planet. I do love animals but those are my beliefs. Perhaps one day humans with be faced with extinction also.
    Thank you too. Yes the overture is sad but it could be changed if only the Thai government could get their act together. Maybe, extinction of humans is what the planet needs! We certainly are destroying the natural resources much faster than they can be replenished. Natural selection will work it out in the long run.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Wilson View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Kekule
    Only dedicated patrolling and enforcement can make the difference and that's where the government is responsible for a strict mandate. As it stands, most are watching the natural world disappear before their eyes!
    It needs that, plus education of the people. enforcement on its own can only do so much.

    Ideally, lift the living standards of the villagers, give them another job as well.
    Education is the government's number one priority and is fine if the people will listen. However, poor people do not take well to richer people telling them what to do and this is a fact in Thailand. Sometimes increasing their standard of living and giving them a job only creates even more greed.

    The law needs to be changed whereas perpetrators are locked up for a good while removing them from the area, and while they are in jail, teaching them a new skill might help. A dedicated court, prison and a special team to collect any poachers caught with guns and dead animals in a protected area, and then brought to Bangkok where they are quickly processed saving the tax payers money, while cutting out local police corruption could go a long way into improving the situation. Once the bad eggs are removed from the villages, the forest and animals might get a breather.

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    A truly outstanding OP. Love what you were able to accomplish with your traps. Amazing the focus you get. Job well done!!

    A side note, this reminds me of going on a boar hunting trip in the middle of Malaysia in 1999. When we met our guide he just had to impress us on how good he and his bush beaters were, so out came his photo album. In one shot (taken sometime in the late 60s early 70s) had six tigers of different sizes layed out in the back of an old truck, all shot on the same day.

    Asked why he responded "500 Rhinggit apeace "

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    When I lived in Kaohsiung( Taiwan) just up the road was a truly magnificent walled villa.
    Mercs and BMW outside and the owners were often seen in town in the expensive shopping areas.
    Curiously there was also a battered old Nissan parked there during the evenings!

    I was working there arranging compensation for buildings that were subsiding or needed compulsory purchase in advance of the city MRT system.

    2 old shophouses had to go - one with a sort of store at the back.

    The scruffy looking owner came in to discuss things.
    BUGGER ME ! It was the owner of the villa and driving the battered Nissan .

    He asked for a couple of weeks extension so that he could clear his store - no problem.

    I had to get a road closure order to allow the trucks to get down the alley but curiously he wanted it for two night-time closures.
    No problem
    I had to attend as there was a risk that the trucks - big ones- would damage adjoining insured properties.

    Got there at the appointed time only to find a police cordon around the area and was barred from entry !!!!
    Same the next night !
    Weird!
    A few days later I was having a beer with one of the tunnel workers who had taken a casual labour job to clear the store for the two nights.

    Turned out that the store was the mans warehouse for illegal ivory, tiger bones,pangolins, snakes,bird of paradise feathers etc and his brother was the head of the City Police Department !!

    With this sort of 'official' connections unfortunately I fear the destruction of wildlife could be unstoppable - sad but true - just hope I am wrong !

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    Quote Originally Posted by El Gibbon View Post
    A truly outstanding OP. Love what you were able to accomplish with your traps. Amazing the focus you get. Job well done!!

    A side note, this reminds me of going on a boar hunting trip in the middle of Malaysia in 1999. When we met our guide he just had to impress us on how good he and his bush beaters were, so out came his photo album. In one shot (taken sometime in the late 60s early 70s) had six tigers of different sizes layed out in the back of an old truck, all shot on the same day.

    Asked why he responded "500 Rhinggit apeace "

    E.G.
    Ei Gibbon,
    Thanks very much for your kind words. The main reason for the good focus on my camera-traps is simple. I make my own using very good 'point and shoot' Olympus film cameras (35mm with a 2.8 lens) for most of my traps, plus these cameras were easy to modify. My next thread is 'how I photograph Thai tigers with film and digital' which explains my work and equipment.

    Malaysia is in much the same boat when it comes to tigers. They are on the downhill slide there too. I will also be posting an overall world tiger population statistics after that. It is shocking how many are left.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Happyman View Post
    When I lived in Kaohsiung( Taiwan) just up the road was a truly magnificent walled villa.
    Mercs and BMW outside and the owners were often seen in town in the expensive shopping areas.
    Curiously there was also a battered old Nissan parked there during the evenings!

    I was working there arranging compensation for buildings that were subsiding or needed compulsory purchase in advance of the city MRT system.

    2 old shophouses had to go - one with a sort of store at the back.

    The scruffy looking owner came in to discuss things.
    BUGGER ME ! It was the owner of the villa and driving the battered Nissan .

    He asked for a couple of weeks extension so that he could clear his store - no problem.

    I had to get a road closure order to allow the trucks to get down the alley but curiously he wanted it for two night-time closures.
    No problem
    I had to attend as there was a risk that the trucks - big ones- would damage adjoining insured properties.

    Got there at the appointed time only to find a police cordon around the area and was barred from entry !!!!
    Same the next night !
    Weird!
    A few days later I was having a beer with one of the tunnel workers who had taken a casual labour job to clear the store for the two nights.

    Turned out that the store was the mans warehouse for illegal ivory, tiger bones,pangolins, snakes,bird of paradise feathers etc and his brother was the head of the City Police Department !!

    With this sort of 'official' connections unfortunately I fear the destruction of wildlife could be unstoppable - sad but true - just hope I am wrong !
    It is absolutely disgusting how so many unscrupulous people trade in dead and living wildlife, just for the money. It's been going on for a long time, and for everyone caught, a hundred more slip through the net. Enforcement is getting better, but it's the same old story; too little and too late! Many thanks for your comments.

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    Don't mean to stray too far off topic, but on a somewhat related note, are there any places in Thailand where it is thought that the leopard population has expanded as a result of the decrease/disappearance of tigers? I have heard of that happening elsewhere. Leopards have a broader range of prey species and seem to be able to get by in close proximity to people much better than tigers. Not suggesting that it would be anything like compensation for the loss of the most charismatic of the cats, but is the outlook for the leopard in SE Asia any better than that for the tiger, possibly due to it benefiting from the larger cat's misfortune?
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    Quote Originally Posted by robuzo View Post
    Don't mean to stray too far off topic, but on a somewhat related note, are there any places in Thailand where it is thought that the leopard population has expanded as a result of the decrease/disappearance of tigers? I have heard of that happening elsewhere. Leopards have a broader range of prey species and seem to be able to get by in close proximity to people much better than tigers. Not suggesting that it would be anything like compensation for the loss of the most charismatic of the cats, but is the outlook for the leopard in SE Asia any better than that for the tiger, possibly due to it benefiting from the larger cat's misfortune?
    Leopards seem to survive slightly better than the tiger due to their stealthy and nocturnal habits. But in some forests like Kaeng Krachan NP, both leopards and tiger hunt in the daytime and have overlapping territories as evidenced by my camera-trap program in the park some 8 years ago.

    However, leopards also get caught up when a poisoned carcass has been left in the forest. As far as filling a void left by the tiger, it is possible. Asian wild dogs also fill in as in Khao Yai NP where a large pack is regularly seen and the tiger has disappeared.

    But it is the lack of prey species that has the biggest affect on all the carnivores. Deer, wild pig and cattle are relentlessly hunted for their meat in direct competition with the cats. Unless the government can keep the poachers at bay, it is a downhill slide for all the ecosystems in the Kingdom and neighboring countries. Thanks for your interest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    As long as there are Chinese willing to pay large amounts of money for tiger bones & penis, ivory & sharks fin, there will be poor villagers that will be motivated to supply it. And corrupt officials are easily paid to look the other way.

    Great photoes Bruce, but a bit saddening too.
    Or it might simply be a growing and encroaching human civilisation.....a borrowed civilisation form, mind. Imaginary growth and consumption is everything.

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    Sad reading, Bruce.
    Not that I am surprised that the top predator (along with too many other species) in Thailand is facing this fate.
    I still recall what my brother in law said, when he returnt from a succesfull hunt in a NP in Isan: "Hunting is so much better there". He brought 2 dead herons with no more flesh than that of a single chicken
    Needless to say, all wildlife in the local area had been finished off long ago.
    Sadly I don`t see future thai generations have more awareness and appreciation of the local wildlife/national heritage.
    (My observations are based in Isan)

    Too bad it is not possible to follow the South African example (among others), and turn the sighting of these beast into a source of income and thus making locals realize this is much more viable than killing them.
    Visiting a national park with the knowledge that the most exotic animal in there is a bamboo rat, now how many visitors would that place draw?

    Thanks for posting Bruce, most enlightening topic I`ve ever come across here on teakdoor.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rural Surin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    As long as there are Chinese willing to pay large amounts of money for tiger bones & penis, ivory & sharks fin, there will be poor villagers that will be motivated to supply it. And corrupt officials are easily paid to look the other way.

    Great photoes Bruce, but a bit saddening too.
    Or it might simply be a growing and encroaching human civilisation.....a borrowed civilisation form, mind. Imaginary growth and consumption is everything.
    It is without doubt that the population explosion will only quicken the already fast road to extinction for most wild species, unless the powers to be take real steps to stop this destruction. I am unconvinced that they (government and NGOs) can do a stellar job due to corruption and other related failings on their part. It is sad indeed.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by pescator View Post
    Sad reading, Bruce.
    Not that I am surprised that the top predator (along with too many other species) in Thailand is facing this fate.
    I still recall what my brother in law said, when he returnt from a succesfull hunt in a NP in Isan: "Hunting is so much better there". He brought 2 dead herons with no more flesh than that of a single chicken
    Needless to say, all wildlife in the local area had been finished off long ago.
    Sadly I don`t see future thai generations have more awareness and appreciation of the local wildlife/national heritage.
    (My observations are based in Isan)

    Too bad it is not possible to follow the South African example (among others), and turn the sighting of these beast into a source of income and thus making locals realize this is much more viable than killing them.
    Visiting a national park with the knowledge that the most exotic animal in there is a bamboo rat, now how many visitors would that place draw?

    Thanks for posting Bruce, most enlightening topic I`ve ever come across here on teakdoor.
    Pescator,

    Thanks for your comments. I know very well of what you talk about after living here for so long. I have seen it all and know what goes on everyday in the poor villages where the people scratch out a living and take whatever they can from the forest. It can be a rough life out in the sticks.

    Most national parks have very little wildlife but a few are still quite good. Unfortunately, they are being hammered by poachers and encroachment continuously. This needs to stop now.

    Hence, an increase in quality protection and enforcement is the only recourse. Education and awareness must also be promoted to all levels of society. Then and only then can the wildlife have a chance. I appreciate your interest and kind words about my work.

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