Tigers Clawing Their Way Back from Extinction in Thailand Sanctuary

First Posted: Feb 18, 2016 02:03 PM EST

Tigers may be clawing their way back from extinction. Scientists have found that a depleted tiger population in Thailand is rebounding thanks to enhanced protection measures.

In 2006, the Government of Thailand in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) established an intensive patrol system in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary as an effort to curb poaching of tigers and their prey. They monitored the population of tigers from 2005 to 2012, and found that after the patrol system was institute, numbers rebounded.

"The protection effort is paying off as the years have progressed, as indicated by the increase in recruitment, and we expect the tiger population to increase even more rapidly in the years to come," said Somphot Duangchantrasiri, the lead author of the new study, in a news release.

In order to actually monitor the tigers, the researchers employed camera trap survey annually. They combined the pictures from these traps with advanced statistical models to get a better picture of the population of tigers in the region.

"This is an outstanding conservation success coming from an area where wildlife has been struggling for some time," said Joe Walston, WCS Vice President of Field Conservation. "The result to date is reflective of the commitment made by the Thai government and its partners to Thailand's natural heritage. And despite the considerable gains made already, we believe the future looks even brighter."

The findings are published in the journal Conservation Biology.

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