Therefore Wildlife Alliance believes that wild-to-wild translocation of tigers from stable Panthera tigris tigris populations in South Asia is likely to represent the optimal source for a Cambodian reintroduction.
Establishing an in-situ captive managed tiger population, and releasing suitably acclimatized cubs, is also an option. Wildlife Alliance has unique experiences in animal husbandry, care, and re-wildling. We co-manage, with the government, Cambodia’s only national Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre at Phnom Tamao. This work has resulted in the rescue of more than 60,000 animals from the Illegal Wildlife Trade and the successfully re-wilding and reintroductions of multiple threatened species including gibbons, bears, and the Critically Endangered Sunda pangolin. As such, during 2018, Wildlife Alliance and the Royal Government of Cambodia will be exploring all options for sourcing tigers for reintroduction. The commitments of the governments of Lao and Vietnam to close their country’s tiger farms may also provide an opportunity for sourcing tigers for establishing a captive breeding population.
Is Cambodia safe for tigers?
Tiger populations require space, protection, and sufficient tiger prey for food. However the biggest threats to reintroduced tigers will likely be targeted poaching from organized criminal gangs. The remoteness of the Cardamom Rainforest Landscape, and distance from the significant wildlife markets and criminal gangs of Vietnam, makes Southern Cardamom National Park one of the safest locations for tiger reintroduction in Cambodia. In addition Wildlife Alliance’s track record of effective law enforcement and achieving Zero Poaching of the endangered Asian elephant since 2006 means that we are confident our approach to supervised and managed law enforcement will be sufficient to protect reintroduced tigers.
Is the government supportive of tiger reintroduction?
Tiger reintroduction to Cambodia was identified as a priority in the Cambodia Tiger Action Plan and has recently been endorsed by the Cambodian Prime Minister Samdach Akka Moha Senabdeiy Techo Hun Sen. The Ministry of Environment, the line agency responsible for managing the Southern Cardamom National Park, is also fully supportive of tiger reintroduction into the Cardamom Rainforest Landscape.
Will tiger reintroduction be dangerous for people and how will Human Tiger conflict be prevented?
Despite their reputation the number of incidents of human tiger conflict globally is very low. For example in Bardia District in Nepal, home to more than 50 tigers and half a million people, there have been no incidents of human fatalities from tiger since 2007. Similar patterns occur across almost all tiger landscapes. The low human density of the Cardamom Rainforest Landscape means that the risk of negative interactions between humans and tigers is very low. Nevertheless the Royal Government of Cambodia will implement the robust SAFE framework, developed by WWF and trialed in tiger landscape across South Asia, to minimize the chance of human tiger conflict (prevention) whilst ensuring that appropriate mitigation measures are also in place.