Tigers are top predators of the food chain, meaning they play an important role in keeping the forest ecosystem balanced.
Healthy Forests benefit us
A balanced eco-system keeps the forests healthy, which in turn benefits people - from local people in Mondulkiri who rely on the forests for their livelihood to urban people in Phnom Penh who use forest products in their day to day lives. Healthy forests benefit the country as a whole by providing fresh water, clean air and regulating the climate to limit extreme weather, such as droughts and storms.
Protecting tigers, protects all
Tigers are an umbrella species
, which means when they are conserved, it also help to conserve many other species. Tiger conservation brings the highest levels of protection for an area as well as an increase in funds and capacity. The conservation of tigers requires:
Last hope for Cambodia's endangered species
- Large areas of intact forest - the preservation of habitat is beneficial to all species that reside there and keeps eco system services flourishing
- Good prey numbers - this directly improves the protection of species that are tiger prey, such as banteng, muntjac and wild pig, which then indirectly benefits other carnivores such as leopards and dholes (see Figure1)
- Systematic biological monitoring through technologies such as camera traps - this improves scientific knowledge of other species and activities in the area as other wildlife is also captured on camera
- Strict enforcement against poaching and habitat encroachment - an efficient ranger team and enforced laws against poaching help protect some of the forest's most vulnerable areas and rare species.
Without a government-led restoration programme to prioritise land-use in the Eastern Plains Landscape for tiger recovery, it is unlikely that the forest will remain intact. This is due to competing land use aspirations from other sectors across the region.
The Eastern Plains Landscape is a crucial habitat for 23 of the world's endangered and critically endangered species such as banteng, dholes and the giant ibis (the national bird of Cambodia). The Eastern Plains Landscape is also the last stronghold for leopards in Indochina and has the largest population of banteng in the world. The tiger reintroduction therefore brings crucial hope and increased protection for a large proportion of Cambodia's endangered species.