One-week-old wandering tiger returns safely to wildlife sanctuary


The hunt for the tiger that has strayed from its wildlife reserve in Uthai Thani is finally over. After a week of surveying the surrounding area – and drawing the public’s attention to news and social media sites – Vichit the Tiger was located and returned unharmed to its natural habitat at the Wildlife Sanctuary of Huai Kha Khaeng.

Vichit wears a collar with an electronic tag that alerts wildlife officials to the cat’s movement, though apparently not close enough to capture the tiger sooner. The transmitter recorded movements showing that the large car traveled approximately 83 kilometers in total before returning to the wildlife sanctuary.

Tracking data showed that the tiger has come close enough to 6 different temples and communities to raise the alarm, both that the wild animal could harm a human or the livestock that locals breed in the area and that the cat could itself be injured or killed by human interaction. At one point it was rumored that Vichit had been hit by a car, but that luckily did not happen.

The tiger made a winding journey, exploring Mae Wong National Park in Nakhon Sawan to Kamphaeng Phet Province in Pang Sila Thong District. A wildlife official said Vichit mostly wandered over small hills covered with shrubs and through eucalyptus and tapioca plantations during his week-long adventure.

The 12th Conservation Area Office in Nakhon Sawan said the tiger adventure that went viral had raised awareness about tiger conservation. They said it is likely that tigers will stray again in the future as the tiger population increases in habitat that is no longer large enough to contain them all. Villages and farms near the habitat should take safety precautions and educate themselves about tigers to understand their nature and how to protect people and their livestock from any future encounter with tigers.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World


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