Wildlife cameras have captured a previously unknown population of Indochinese tigers living and breeding in an eastern Thai jungle, giving government officials and conservationists optimism for a species critically endangered in the wild.
Of the 3,900 tigers estimated to live in the wild today, fewer than 250 are thought to be members of the Indochinese subspecies. The newly discovered group is only the world’s second-known breeding population of Indochinese tigers. The other is located in the Huai Kha Khaeng wildlife sanctuary in western Thailand.
“It provides a little bit of hope that potentially we no longer have all of our eggs in one basket,” Eric Ash, a conservation project manager at Freeland, a group that fights wildlife trafficking, told Reuters.
Working with Thai authorities, Freeland and the global conservation group Panthera installed 156 wildlife cameras across Thailand’s Eastern Forest Complex to survey potential Indochinese populations. The cameras captured at least six tiger cubs from four mothers in 2016.