Ministers and environmentalists from the across the region have come to Thailand‘s resort of Hua Hin next week to ensure the Year of the Tiger sparks appropriate environmental action.
Wild tigers are now down from 100,000 a century ago to just 3,200 today. But WWF co-ordinator Peter Cutter said concerted action could get the number up to 6,000 by the next Year of the Tiger in 2022.
The key challenge is to ensure an annual supply of 500 prey animals for each wild tiger. Vast sanctuaries are also required as a male tiger can roam over 50 square kilometres.
WWF Thailand country director William Schaedla described Thailand as ‘a good model so far’.
The two-day meeting in Hua Hin will be followed in September by a Tiger Summit in Vladivostok.
Thailand is also well-known for its ‘mild tigers’ – viewing, or even cuddling, them is a popular tourist activity. The famous Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi, near Burma, has about 50 tigers that visitors can pet, under close supervision by Buddhist monks.
But Thailand’s most famous mild tigers could be those of Sriracha Zoo. Photos of a tigress from this zoo looking after five piglets triggered a famous internet legend – that the pics show a bereaved tiger in California who lost her cubs and recovered her spirits by adopting baby pigs.
In fact, Sriracha Zoo was simply experimenting in how different animals can get along. The tigress in the photos was also suckled by a pig herself.