Posts Tagged ‘Indochinese tiger’

Tiger research in the Western Forest Complex (WFC) of Thailand

indochinese tiger female sporting a 'radio collar'

Indochinese tiger female sporting a ‘radio collar’ at the tiger log…!

First off, I want everyone to know that I’m not against research that is extremely important for knowledge of the natural world. The practice of studying animals and behavior is needed to understand how Mother Nature’s beings and biospheres live in a complex world. Some people might take offence to the relevant facts stated below but things need to change quickly in order to really save the tiger, and other creatures and ecosystems of Thailand’s natural heritage.

indochinese tiger female sporting a 'radio collar'

Close-up: A serial numbered tiger and the number can be seen written on the collar.

Frankly, there are some projects that are on-going and not up to standard that have caused many tiger deaths, directly and indirectly. Such is the ‘tiger research’ carried out that is mediocre to very poor to say the least. The researchers working on tigers here have a track record that simply is not acceptable…!

Many problems have come to the forefront about the system of capturing the big cats with snares and then shooting them with darts to sedate them. Some tigers have escaped the snare and ended up with a limp because of pulled joints, tendons and ligaments. This is a serious problem as the cat now cannot chase down its normal prey like deer and pigs, and quickly dies of malnutrition. Botched tiger captures using wrongly administered drugs to sedate tigers has also been noted. The tigers could not be revived and the animals were simply buried and the news suppressed.

indochinese tiger female sporting a 'radio collar'

Serial numbered tiger – #164 900 – 2014

Another problem of making broad statements about the amount of tigers in certain areas and broadcasting this plus other pertinent ‘radio collaring’ information on national TV channel is like sounding the death knoll to come and get these magnificent creatures. There are still many bad elements in our society and these cold-blooded killers think nothing about dispatching a tiger for its bones used in the making of Chinese medicine and wine. It’s all about money and human greed…!

This has also happened in India where researchers published their work in the local newspapers, and on the radio and TV how many tigers were in Panna Tiger Reserve and within one year, the cats completely disappeared as poachers moved in and systematically killed them all in one quick swoop. Tigers like all big cats, come to carrion and if a carcass is tainted with poison, it’s just a matter of time before the whole local wild feline population is wiped out. They disappeared under the forestry staff and researcher’s noses. Because it is in open forest, other animals like bears, civets, all the cats, wild pigs. vultures also perish. How could this happen..?

Other stories on the Internet can be found about tigers with collars not breeding very well was also documented in India. Finally, researcher’s laptops have been hacked into and important GPS data on tiger whereabouts was stolen. These high tech poachers can kill a population in a jiffy.

Putting collars on young tigers is a serious no-no but this has been done here in the name of research with the researchers finding the collar had stopped moving and the cub found dead having quickly out-grown the leather strap suffocating it. Another serious occurrence of taking tiger cubs out of their den for research data gathering purposes, and then coming back a second time to photograph the researchers holding the cubs. The mother tiger abandon the den and the cubs ended up dead. This is a serious breach of protocol and the National Parks law…!

Needless to say, these people continue to carry on like nothing has happened but these are facts backed-up by reliable sources and boots on the ground. And what is really worrisome is the fact that several international NGOs and a U.S. university are backing this program.

Other tribulations like bringing domestic cattle to act as ‘tiger bait’ was ongoing until recently, and who knows if any disease like ‘foot and mouth’ or ‘anthrax’ was introduced into the sanctuary during this time. The cattle were purchased locally (sometimes, diseased cows are illegally imported from nearby Burma). This baiting technique was used for several years and the researchers brought these domesticated cattle in by the truckload. A cow was then tied to a stake and a bamboo enclosure built around it with only one opening and they built scores of them in the forest. Of course hay and water were provided to the cow. A tiger would step in and maybe get snared. This practice fortunately has been suspended. This is just another breach of the law where domesticated animals are not allowed in wildlife sanctuaries that have been set aside for biodiversity and research.

The researchers already have loads of data including identifying individuals and home-range information through camera trapping, plus the data from the 8-10 collared tigers. My feeling is that the collaring process should cease as there are far to few tigers left in the wild. No amount of research can justify even one tiger getting killed in the name of science. There are only about 3,200 left in the world, and maybe less than 250 in Thailand. It is time to seriously concentrate on protection and enforcement only and less emphasis put on research. We already know there are tigers in WFC, one of the greatest tiger reserves in the world.

Most unfortunate are the old laws that apply to wildlife and protected areas that seem to perpetuate lawless people from being put away in jail. Most poachers and forest product gatherers get light fines and a slap on the wrist when apprehended in national park land, even with solid evidence. The park officials must bring all poachers to the local police station, which then starts another wheel of corruption at a higher level. If the case gets into the courts, pay-offs are used to get light sentences and sometime off ‘Scott-free’. There are very few convictions and long-term jail sentences although once in awhile, some do end-up in jail as a consequence but the ratio of convicted poachers to released offenders is small.

The biggest problem is simply there are not enough ranger personnel to look after these remaining tiger reserves and, budgets are slim and sometime non-existent. My biggest concern is that everything will come too late to save the tiger from extinction. Lawmakers and budget people need to get their head out of the sand but that will take an act of god (AOG) to get going in a culture that thrives on corruption.

One of the most important things to get established in Thailand is a dedicated ‘ranger school’ so that the ranks can be filled with well trained and equipped personnel. The present ranger numbers need to be increased by over 100%. Several revolving 5-man teams need to patrol with men always in the forest from their respective ranger stations. This is the only way to keep the poachers at bay. Again, this will basically need an AOG to get done.

Once again, I’m not against research, but a line must be drawn in the sand. Too much money and effort goes towards this activity and very little into protecting the wildlife and biospheres here that the researchers are researching. This is just not right and I for one, want to try and change things here so that wildlife at least gets a fair shake.

At the end of the day, the only thing that will help Thailand’s tigers in the long run is also a serious look into­ the middlemen and end-users of tiger bones and other forest products. These people must be apprehended and the masses educated to see the fallacy in using wild animal parts to cure ailments. The Asian medicine trade is still in full swing and will be next to impossible to stop.

But this practice has been going on for hundreds to thousands of years in China where the tiger first evolved two million years ago. The Chinese tiger is extinct in the wild but they now have loads of ‘tiger farms’. Unfortunately, wild tigers are the most sought after for the black market trade. It is a bad situation out there that seems to be getting worse and on the increase due to the ever-increasing population explosion. Sadly and in the long-run, the tiger will simply disappear if things do not change..!

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Sony P41 catches tiger and black leopard

Thursday, August 21, 2014 posted by Bruce 10:10 PM

Last month I posted some photos collected from my BFOutdoors P41 trail cam and decided to leave it for one more set. The following pics are what the great little trail cam has captured. Of note: I got four captures of a black leopard which is simply amazing….plus I two Indochinese tigers…I have moved this cam to another location further up the road and have installed my Canon 600D on the tree across from the daytime black leopard shot so that could also be interesting when I visit in a few days…two deer species and a banteng also crossed in front of the P41…Enjoy..!

Black leopard - Sony P41

A black leopard in the afternoon: A Canon 600D is setup on the tree opposite the leopard…!

Tiger1 - P41

A female tiger at night.

Tiger2 - P41

A male tiger in late afternoon.

Black leopard2 - Sony P41

Another black leopard capture.

Black leopard3 - Sony P41

Back again.

muntjac - P41

A male muntjac (barking deer).

muntjac male - P41

Male muntjac again.

Banteng  - P41

A banteng crossing in the daytime.

Sambar stag - P41

A young sambar stag in velvet.

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Indochinese tiger ‘eye lash’ speed…!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 posted by Bruce 3:31 PM

A Canon 400D trail cam catches a male tiger

Tiger male - Canon 400D

Old green eyes’…out on a ‘night prowl’…1st shot…!

A couple of days ago, I was checking my cams and got to my Canon 400D on a forest road somewhere in the Western Forest Complex of Thailand. When I got to the cam, it was still working but only one flash three feet above the cam was firing hence the ‘eye-shine’ . The other two flashes were dead…! Life on two Canon Lithium batteries in 30 second power save mode is excellent so I left them just to see how long they would really last….!

Tiger male - Canon 400D

Tiger squinting…..2nd shot.

The flash that fired was a SB-26 which I normally set for slave but somehow the settings was on full-power…needless to say, I was delighted and did back-flips when I saw a tiger again, in about the same position as the female back in June in two shots. In both instances, the tigers had their eyes open on the first shot and squinted by the second in almost the same positions. This reaction time is measured in milliseconds…!

Tiger in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary

Last month’s female tiger…..1st shot.

Then they both jumped out of the frame before the camera could shoot again. This is 100% luck….also shifted the 400D over a tad to the left for better composition. I have included last month’s female tiger shots so a comparison can be made without having to flip back to the old post.

Tiger female - Canon 400D

Female squinting…..2nd shot.

All I can say, it boggles the mind but shows how fast tigers can react……Enjoy…!

 

Canon 400D set to continuous

Nikon 50mm ƒ1.4 manual lens

Nikon SB-26 set to full power.

1/125 – ƒ8 ISO 400.

SSII sensor #6 chip – Pelican 1150

1st shot – cropped and the rest normal size.

 

 

 

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Look what I missed…!

Friday, June 20, 2014 posted by Bruce 9:22 AM

Look what I missed…!

Last month, an elephant destroyed one of my slave flashes on the D700 causing a shut down of the system due to a short in the flash cable. I left the cam for awhile longer with only two slaves but nothing crossed over the ‘tiger log’. I then decided to bring the setup to Bangkok to repair the third flash. I left a Bushnell Trophy Cam in place to see what wildlife would come to the ‘tiger log’.

Well as luck will have it, an Asian black bear (Ursus thibetanus) came up to the log but did not cross. Some thirty minutes later, a yellow phase leopard (Panthera pardus) jumped up on the log and posed. The next day, a tiger (Panthera tigris) passed by very quickly proving once again that this location continues to produce images of Thailand’s top predators on a regular basis.

My D700 is now back on the log and was working well when I left it two days ago. It is hoped that the ‘big cats’ will continue to cross over the log and trip the sensor…

 

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Indochinese tigers in Thailand’s Western Forest Complex

Friday, February 21, 2014 posted by Bruce 7:45 PM

Tigers’ reaction to camera traps and red LEDs

The following videos are a collection gathered over the last 6 months of tigers in the Western Forest Complex. Some of these wild cats showed reaction to red LEDs and the cams, but others did not seem bothered. What ever happens with some animals depends on the individual. Needless to say, there are quite a few tigers in this forest. I am trying to improve the quality of the videos with better cams that are in the process of being built…Enjoy…!!

http://youtu.be/L-caxUgdFbE

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Wild Thailand Part One and Two

Saturday, January 4, 2014 posted by Bruce 10:59 AM

For the first time, a snarling tiger shows what their reaction is to a video cam with red LEDs when actuated at night. This male tiger is a resident at this location in the ‘Western Forest Complex’…a black leopard also passed the cam several times but did not actually look at the LEDs and so no reaction was recorded.

At the second location, the tigers did not seem too bothered by the red blob…! I now have a few cams including my Nikon D700 set-up here and hopefully will catch a tiger with my DSLR trail cam…!! Please enjoy these videos and even though they are a bit fuzzy, still show Thailand’s amazing natural heritage at its best.

http://youtu.be/xCMIGk6HsfQ

http://youtu.be/NZZRCoaIO-g

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This is ‘Part One’ titled ‘Chasing a Wild Dream – Predators’ of the presentation I did for the Biology Club at the University of Tennessee on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2013. There is some old footage but some new including a black leopard in the early morning walking by my cam..one of my favorite videos…..enjoy..!

http://youtu.be/yHYMBXfqiaU

This is ‘Part Two’ titled ‘Chasing a Wild Dream – Herbivores’. Again, some old and some new….enjoy..!

http://youtu.be/XbluuxqgpB4

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A Jumping Tiger: Nikon D300s DSLR catches a big cat

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 posted by Bruce 8:31 PM

The speed and reaction time of an Indochinese tiger is measured in milliseconds….!

http://youtu.be/O2vV31ND_T0

The video is a bit raunchy and music is strong but I wanted something else for a change…! This is the most amazing behavior of a tiger I have ever seen.

I set my Nikon D300s DSLR trail cam deep in the forest at a mineral spring where all of Thailand’s large wild mammals like elephant, gaur, banteng, tapir and sambar plus others come for ‘life-giving’ minerals and a drink, and where tigers coming looking for prey.

This cam (set to manual 1/125 – ƒ8 – ISO 400) with a 35mm lens with a Snapshot Sniper SSII sensor fires-off salvos of 8 frames a second every time it records motion. The Nikon D300s was perfect for this location

I was hoping to catch a tiger and thought I might get lucky…but after going through the files, I found 13 photos of a tiger jumping  away from the cam. This action footage is my best so far of the tiger in Thailand. The cat is not exceptionally sharp but movement never is and it does not have to be…..!

Amazingly, this male tiger heard the first shutter and reacted in less than three frames and started moving away in what I would like to say, blinding speed…! He looks to be mature judging from his scrotum. This place is truly the last great tiger haven in Thailand and worthy of it’s ‘World Heritage Site’ status…!

All I can say, it’s going to be tough to top this sequence….!

Enjoy…!

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TIGER AND BANTENG – Sony W30 set

Friday, July 19, 2013 posted by Bruce 10:11 AM

Tiger mother and two full grown cubs.

Recently, I pulled a Sony W30 camera trap from a mineral deposit in the Western Forest Complex and found some amazing photos of a mother tiger and her two cubs. It is very rare to see a tiger family on a trail cam. These amazing creatures usually do not hang around when it starts flashing at them…but I got some great shots shown here.

Mother and cub.

The two cubs leaving the mineral deposit.

Mother on the way out.

Another tiger visits the camera.

Banteng have now become quite rare in Southeast Asia but thrive in two wildlife sanctuaries in Thailand; one in the east and one in the west. Here are some shots of these beautiful wild cattle. The old bull looks like he is having a heck of time with the moths.

Banteng herd at the mineral deposit.

Old banteng bull and moths after a big rain.

 

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Thailand’s mega-fauna caught on video

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 posted by Bruce 1:04 PM

A Bushnell Trophy Cam set to video (IR capture at night) catches mega-fauna at night (wild elephant, gaur, banteng, sambar and Indochinese tiger) walking up a game trail in the heart of Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, a World Heritage Site situated in Western Thailand. Interestingly, a female tiger fitted with a radio collar is caught twice during the one month stint. All these animals are thriving very well in this amazing protected area, and is a tribute to Thailand’s natural heritage.

http://youtu.be/8Xv0TjWypXI

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