I have sad news to share. According to this article from The Guardian, tigers have just been declared functionally extinct in Cambodia. This means there are likely no more breeding populations in that country. The last time anyone saw a tiger in Cambodia was in 2007, when a camera trap took a picture of one.
The original article claims that Indochinese tigers (Panthera tigris ssp. corbetti) used to be plentiful in Cambodia’s forests. But poaching of tigers and their prey have now driven these most magnificent of cats to functional extinction. Apart from being a massive loss in its own right, this is a setback for the Global Tiger Recovery Program: the ambitious plan to double wild tiger numbers by 2022 (GTRP, 2011). But all is not lost.
In March, the Cambodian government approved a plan to reintroduce tigers into a protected forest. They are already working with other tiger range countries to acquire a few wild individuals for reintroduction. This will not be easy, but it is a step in the right direction. All species have a right to exist, but few creatures hold as much cultural significance as Panthera tigris (tigers’ scientific name). Therefore every effort should be put into restoring Cambodia’s tigers.
Goodrich, J., Lynam, A., Miquelle, D., Wibisono, H., Kawanishi, K., Pattanavibool, A., … Karanth, U. (2015). Panthera tigris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T15955A50659951. Retrieved from http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/full/15955/0.