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Date
January 18, 2012

Capturing Endangered Tigers

High-tech cameras are helping researchers get a behind-the-scenes look.
Transcript

Shelby: Back in the day, many tigers roamed across Asia. But today, tigers are so rare they are actually on the endangered species list. So why are tigers in trouble? We are taking you all the way to Asia to get a closer look.

This amazing video, taken by cameras hidden deep in the jungles of Thailand, gives a very rare inside look at how tigers live. The footage was made available by the Wildlife Conservation Society.

“It’s the first time that technology has gotten to the stage where we can take videos of these.”

Shelby: These special cameras that are triggered when something crosses its laser beam captured the images.

“These are pictures of tigers behaving naturally, completely away from humans. There are no humans anywhere near them.”

Shelby: The cameras were set up along Thailand’s border with Myanmar. The images all come from within a special protected zone about the size of Rhode Island. Here, along with elephants and tigers, poachers also roam. A poacher is someone who hunts illegally. They have contributed to a 97% decline in the worldwide population of tigers.

“Illegal wildlife trading is like water running downhill. And so you block it in one place and it will go somewhere else.”

Shelby: While the tiger population declines elsewhere, in the protected zone, it appears to be holding steady.

“Because of really good enforcement and patrols in this area.”

Shelby: The Thai government has trained 190 park rangers who work in twenty separate patrol teams. They use GPS and tracking devices to prevent poaching.

The video shows not just tigers but a clouded leopard, this jungle pig nursing her babies, and other animals thought to have disappeared from this area.

With a mere 3,200 tigers left in the wild, the Wildlife Conservation Society wants to increase poaching patrols.

“We’ve just got to protect them from being poached in the first place. Time is just not on our side.”

Shelby: This video provides a stunning glimpse of life and a glimmer of hope for a population under threat.

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