Only 10 percent of tiger habitat was included in the latest tiger population survey nationwide, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society-Myanmar.
The size of the tiger population is difficult to know exactly because some areas are off limits due to armed conflicts, which makes data collection dangerous.
There were nine species of tiger in the world but only six species are left. Among the remaining habitats for tigers in the world, Myanmar is home to two – the Bengal tiger and Indochinese tiger, according to the national tiger survey (1999-2002).
The Hukaung Valley wildlife sanctuary, Htamanthi wildlife sanctuary, and the Dawna-Tenasserim Landscape (DTL) are potential places for tiger habitat. The survey was conducted by the Forest Department and WCS in the upper Chindwin in Mawlaik, Sagaing Region, and the World Wildlife Fund and Fauna & Flora International conducted it in the DTL.
“There are many difficulties to survey the tiger habitat because some are remote and others are dangerous due to armed conflicts. All we can do is preserve the current tiger habitat and ensure that they can reproduce,” he added.
The government estimated that there are 80 tigers left in the wild, while WCS-Myanmar estimated the number at between 50 and 100 last year. The national tiger action plan 2003 needs to be updated to preserve the prey for tigers and to protect their habitat. Conservation is needed to sustain the tiger population in Myanmar.
“We could only collect information on the tiger population in some areas, so we couldn’t determine the condition of the entire population for the study,” U Hla Naing of WCS-Myanmar said.
Tigers are threatened by the decline of their prey species, such as gaur, sambar deer and deer, which are also favourite targets for wildlife traffickers.
In Myanmar, tigers are protected by the Protection of Biodiversity and Protected Area Law.