Fewer than 350 Indochinese tigers live in the fragmented forests of Southeast Asia. Historically found in Myanmar, southwestern China, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam, few, if any, remain in most tiger range countries today. For example, no tigers have been camera-trapped in Vietnam since 1997, suggesting no tigers remain in the country. The largest remaining population of Indochinese tigers probably exists at the border of Thailand and Myanmar (primarily on the Thailand side), in the Tennasarim Range, where development and human density remains low, public use of protected areas is limited, and the government of Thailand is investing in high-quality protection. There, camera-trapping and other population surveys suggest a total population of approximately 200 tigers.
Poaching of tigers to supply the demand for tiger parts used as traditional medicines is the principal threat to Indochinese tigers. However, the poaching of tiger prey for local and international bushmeat markets also keeps tiger populations at low densities, and more susceptible to inbreeding and eventual extinction.
Large areas of Southeast Asia are already legally protected but conservation efforts are aimed at increasing the quality and effectiveness of protection in those areas. Additional efforts include ensuring connectivity among tiger reserves and increasing support from government agencies. To learn how you can help tigers, visit the Tiger Conservation Campaign website.
Photo Credit DNP/WCS-Thailand