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WCS released remarkable camera trap footage today showing a virtual parade of Asian wildlife – tigers, elephants, sun bears, and other species – individually visiting a single, small watering hole in Thailand’s Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary.
The footage, taken over one month, shows everything from a tiger and her three cubs, to a dripping wet Asiatic black bear, to lesser-known animals including an endangered species of wild cattle called a banteng, all stopping by the Jacuzzi-sized natural pool. Other wildlife shown include Asian elephants, sambar, muntjac, wild boar, long-tailed macaque, crab-eating mongoose, crested serpent eagle, blue magpie, and jungle fowl. The footage concludes with conservationists setting up and testing camera traps at the watering hole.
The scenes of wildlife at this pristine and peaceful setting are the result of years of hard work by WCS and the Government of Thailand to protect the vast Western Forest Complex or WEFCOM. The complex is considered the largest remaining block of forest in Southeast Asia covering an area of about 18,000 sq. km, and containing 17 contiguous protected areas; 11 national parks and six wildlife sanctuaries found within its borders.
WCS says high-level park and wildlife officers at Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) have been instrumental in the region’s success adding staff and resources to make Huai Kha Khaeng better protected. Other supporters include: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. State Department, GEF-UNDP, The European Union, the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, and Zoo Zürich.
Said WCS Country Director Anak Pattanavibool: “This amazing footage of a protected area in Thailand teeming with wildlife would not have been possible without the wildlife officers and rangers on the ground who have put their lives on the line, with some killed or severely wounded by poachers.”
Conservation work continues in the region and wildlife are returning. Tigers in particular, have roared back in Huai Kha Khaeng thanks to major long-term effort to reduce poaching. Ranger patrols have increased, and as a result, tiger numbers in the sanctuary have risen dramatically. In addition, tigers dispersing out of HKK are providing a foundation for a recovering population across the entire Western Forest Complex, with benefits even spilling over across the border into the Taninthayi region of Myanmar.
The Western Forest Complex is part of the Greater Mekong Region – one of 14 of the world's most important terrestrial and marine regions that WCS is committed to protecting. These regions, found across the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania, are intact, biodiverse, most resilient to climate change, and home to large and iconic wildlife species across their geographic range.