6 June 2024

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation is cooperating with the World Wildlife Fund to undertake a survey of the population of leopards and panthers in Thailand, particularly in the western forest complex, as well as the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai and Phu Khieo-Nam Nao forest complexes.

It is expected that the survey will begin in the western forests, because the area is believed to contain more leopards and panthers.

Sittichai Nuchailek, chief of the Wildlife Conservation Office, said that the department does not have information about the number of panthers and leopards in the wild in Thailand, although it is estimated there are between 200 and 300 of them, scattered over three forest complexes.

Based on images captured by camera traps and sightings by tourists, he said that the number of the two species of big cats appears to have increased, particularly in the western forest complex, which covers the Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi province.

He said, however, that smart patrols by forest rangers in the Kaeng Krachan National Park indicate that there may be between 10 and 20 panthers and leopards roaming the jungle there to hunt for prey, such as deer.

Sittichai admitted that he is concerned about the fate of the big cats in the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai and Phu Khieo-Nam Nao forest complexes, noting that camera traps have been unable to capture their images, even though their footprints have been found.