By Akkarachai Kantamala,
Known as the crown jewel of Thailand's forested terrain, Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary is home to an abundance of plants and wildlife.
However, an important step in preserving the sanctuary is to boost the area’s tiger population, as this is a real indicator of the park’s rich diversity, wildlife experts say.
“To preserve the tiger is to preserve the whole forest,” said Saksit Simcharoen, chief of Huai Kha Khaeng Tigers Research Team. Since tigers are an indicator of the forest’s diversity, preserving them means preserving the whole food chain of the sanctuary, he said.
According to Saksit, tigers are at the top of the food chain and the number present in the sanctuary also reveals the abundance and type of prey they hunt. So it was important, he said, to preserve the habitat in order to ensure their numbers were not at risk.
The current tiger population in Huai Kha Khaeng is approximately 240 to 250 – a relatively small number, Saksit said.
Huai Kha Khaeng, in Uthai Thani province, is also home to a large number of other species. A true haven barely touched by man, it serves as natural habitat for 150 species of mammal, 450 species of bird, 89 species of lizard, 40 species of frog, and 108 species of fish.
“We used to have only about 30 tigers in the Sanctuary,” he said. “But we plan to increase the tiger population by up to 300 in a few years and to then keep this number stable.” With the assistance of modern tracking technology, rangers and tiger specialists at Huai Kha Khaeng can track down tigers and study them effectively.
“We also need to do some research on the tigers’ behaviour in order to ensure they have access to the right sources of prey,” said Teerapat Prayulsit, deputy director of the Department of National Parks, adding that laws and regulations protecting wildlife in Thailand need to be taken more seriously.
In support of tiger conservation, True Corporation will hold a “Wildlife is Priceless, Forests Are Precious” photo contest. The contest aims to encourage awareness about the importance of preserving forests their wildlife.
“One photo can tell many stories”, said Ard Taolanon, vice president of True Corporation.
The photo contest will be open to anyone who expresses an interest and will be divided into two main topics: forests and wildlife.
Those interested in taking part can submit their photographs up till the end of September. More information on the competition can be found at: Trueplookpanya.com.