- Tenasserims, Thailand Photo
- ©Khao Nang Rum Wildlife Research Center/WCS
The 7,000 square miles of deciduous forest in Thailand’s Western Forest Complex is prime tiger habitat. It holds fewer than 200 tigers but has the potential to support more than 1,000 of the big cats. The Western Forest Complex-Tenasserim-South Thailand landscape encompasses the transition zone from dry evergreen forests to semi-evergreen rainforests. This eco-region has some of the greatest diversity of bird and mammal species in the Indo-Pacific region and some of the best remaining habitat for Asian elephants, leopards, Asian black bears, and gaur, as well as tigers. The 1,100-square-mile Kaeng Krachan National Park protects an important variety of moist forest habitats and is exceptionally rich in birds.
- The 17 contiguous protected areas that form the Western Forest Complex make up one of the largest protected area systems in mainland Southeast Asia.
- Thailand’s endangered and threatened birds include Gurney’s pitta, white-winged duck, green peafowl, rufous-necked hornbills, and crested fireback.
The lowland forests are heavily degraded. Overall, more than 50 percent of the region's habitat has been converted to agriculture. Despite a logging ban in the late 1980s, the extensive lowland forests of peninsular Thailand have been nearly extirpated.
WCS is working in the Western Forest Complex and Kaeng Krachan National Park, helping the Thai government to improve its protected area system, primarily through aiding law enforcement efforts. WCS has also worked closely with the government in the Western Forest Complex to establish a population monitoring system, which uses remote camera traps, for Indochinese tigers. To address conflicts between humans and elephants, WCS brings together local communities and Kaeng Krachan park staff to deter elephants from raiding crops.
From the Newsroom
The sentencing of two tiger poachers marks a major turning point in Asia’s war against wildlife crime. WCS helped apprehend the pair last summer after authorities discovered a cell phone with images of a dead tiger.
Video camera traps in Thailand’s Western Forest Complex show amazing scenes of tigers, elephants, clouded leopards and other rare wildlife prowling about, alive and well. The footage offers a hopeful sign for conservationists, whose efforts to save the region’s wildlife are clearly paying off.
WCS conservationists have found that the same gangs that smuggle weapons and drugs are poaching the last remaining tigers to the edge of existence. But as organized crime steps up its game in wildlife trade, WCS is fighting back, working to monitor wildlife and train more park rangers.
Park rangers from Thailand’s Western Forest Complex apprehend a group of poachers suspected to have killed as many as 10 tigers in the region. The poachers were involved in an organized crime ring that WCS and other partners have been tracking for the past year.