High-tech detective work aids tiger poaching case in Thailand

The unique stripe pattern on a tiger has helped in the arrest a suspected poacher in Thailand.

The big cat, which had been photographed by a camera trap in the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recently turned up as a victim of wildlife trafficking.  Police at a checkpoint in Mae Sot District in Western Thailand found a tiger skin – and other body parts – which kicked off some high-tech detective work.

Experts with the Wildlife Conservation Society matched the poached skin to a female tiger photographed in HKK due to its unique stripe pattern. Joe Walston, the group’s vice president of global conservation, praised the Thai government for cracking down on the poaching scourge.

“Thailand continues to show a strong commitment to conservation and management of its protected areas,” he said in a statement yesterday. “WCS is confident that the poacher will be fully prosecuted, which will send a strong message to wildlife traffickers that Thailand takes wildlife crime extremely seriously.”

tigerpoacherWCS

But animal welfare activists are also turning their attention to the tigers left behind.

“The tigress was photographed with cubs, now estimated to be two years old,” Walston added. “The fate of the cubs remains unknown.”

This isn’t the first time photos have been used to nab poachers.

In 2011, authorities in Thailand arrested poachers who killed a tiger and took cell phone trophy pictures of it. WCS camera trap images eventually showed that tiger was killed in a protected area.

Photos Wildlife Conservation Society/Facebook

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