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Khao Laem: Conservation in one of Thailand’s Frontier Tiger Parks (Freeland)

Project name:   Khao Laem: Tiger Conservation Survey (Freeland)

Location: Khao Laem National Park 

Goal: Understanding Khao Laem’s current tiger population and degree of connectivity with other tiger populations within Western Thailand is an important step toward informing and facilitating landscape-scale recovery.

Objective 1: Improving knowledge of tigers, prey and threats in KLNP

Objective 2: Building capacity in DNP staff to manage, interpret and analyse camera trap and SMART data

Background:

Thailand is one of the last strongholds for the Indochinese tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti). The Western Forest Complex (WEFCOM) supports the largest single population of tigers remaining in mainland Southeast Asia. This landscape overall has received considerable tiger conservation attention; however, WEFCOM’s Khao Laem National Park (KLNP) until recently was largely overlooked. Evidence now confirms Khao Laem is critical as a connecting wildlife corridor and supports a resident tiger population.

Understanding Khao Laem’s current tiger population and degree of connectivity with other tiger populations within Western Thailand is an important step toward informing and facilitating landscape-scale recovery. During the first year of this Wildcats supported project, Freeland implemented opportunistic camera-trap based tiger surveys to identify sites appropriate for a rigorously scientific Spatially Explicit Capture-Recapture (SECR) grid survey, which Freeland will build on in this second phase. Phase 1 supported patrolling and patrol-based monitoring, increasing patrol coverage, effectiveness, and consequently reporting. Through these activities, the project is improving the understanding of resident tigers and the threats they face. This will lead to improved management and evidence-led protection strategies facilitating safer tiger dispersal within WEFCOM, helping maintain the site as one of mainland Southeast Asia’s last tiger strongholds.

Reports will be published below as they become available.