Controversy Surrounds Cambodia’s Plan to Reintroduce Tigers

The Jaguar

Panthera tigris corbetti by Joachim S. Müller. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Indochinese tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti) is considered to be functionally extinct in Cambodia. These cats, which are thought to be the population from which all other tiger subspecies originated, were plentiful in Cambodia as recently as 1999 (Lynam & Nowell, 2011). But no Indochinese tigers have been seen in Cambodia since 2007. The Cambodian government and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) want to change that. However, leading tiger experts fear that their plan is doomed to fail.

The Cambodian government and the WWF are planning to reintroduce tigers to Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri Province. Dr. Thomas Gray, the Science Director for the Wildlife Alliance, claims that this area contains excellent tiger habitat. Unfortunately, there are significant roadblocks to tiger recovery in Cambodia.

Tigers became functionally extinct in Cambodia largely due to poaching…

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