LOCATION: Thung Yai Naresuan East and West Wildlife Sanctuaries, Thailand
TARGET SPECIES: Tiger (Panthera tigris)
partners: University of Minnesota, the Seub Foundation, and Rabbit in the Moon
STATUS: in progress

We are collaborating with Dr. Dave Smith, from the University of Minnesota, the Seub Foundation, and Rabbit in the Moon with funding from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to support 14 Karen communities in Thung Yai Naresuan East and West Wildlife Sanctuaries to conserve tiger (Panthera tigris) and their prey species banteng (Bos javanicus), gaur (Bos gaurus), and sambar (Rusa unicolor).

The wildlife sanctuaries are located in the Western Forest Complex (WEFCOM), a 19,000 km2 tiger landscape, composed of 17 contiguous protected areas, which supports the largest tiger population in Southeast Asia. Globally, it is one of 4-5 tiger populations that currently have a high probability of remaining viable for the next 100 years.

However, breeding tigers currently occupy only 37% of this landscape, with large areas around the villages being empty of tiger. The project goal is to contribute to government efforts to refill this half-empty landscape so it can serve as a source to both re-establishing extirpated populations and rescuing those that are threatened.

The Karen are a group of people that live in the eastern side of Myanmar and the western side of Thailand. The Karen people have a strong environmental ethic deeply embedded in their cultural and political identity. Teri has worked previously with the Karen communities on the Myanmar side of the border. In partnership with WWF-Myanmar, Teri and our partner Friends of Wildlife conducted a survey to understand their relationship with the forest. They found that the vast majority of respondents saw changes in the forest and were worried about its future and the impact of climate change. Read the paper and learn more.

Check out these blog posts to learn more: