Rare video of tigress and three cubs in Thailand

Incredible footage of a tigress and her three cubs was recorded in western Thailand last year. With only 148-189 wild tigers in all of Thailand, a tiger sighting is rare and even rarer to see a tigress with three well-developed cubs.

The video was captured in Thailand’s Upper Western Forest Complex, one of only two regions in the country where wild tigers still roam. While tiger numbers are stable in Thailand, the numbers are still low, and the population is vulnerable to poaching and prey depletion.

“I’ve seen many camera trap videos of tigers, but this one really stands out, it’s beautiful,” said Dr. Rungnapa Phoonjampa, WWF-Thailand’s Senior Project Manager. "Many people are giving their time and effort into protecting Thailand’s tigers, such as the dedicated ranger teams and conservationists, and it’s so rewarding to see this kind of video. It motivates us to keep going!”

The video is one of a number of clips and photos captured over the last few years in Thailand’s national parks that have excited tiger conservationists. Camera trap photos of banteng—an endangered wild cattle and tiger prey—revealed the animals were returning to a national park thanks to conservation efforts, after disappearing from the protected area in the 1970s due to loggers and poachers. Tiger prey populations are fairly low across Thailand and work is underway to increase populations of animals such as sambar deer.

The presence of prey species such as banteng, pictured here, is a hopeful sign inside a tiger habitat in Thailand.

In 2021, camera trap video captured a female tiger with its prey in Thailand. The tiger had moved from one protected area to another and became the first female tiger sighted in that region.

Another camera trap recording shows a tigress that had dispersed from one population to another protected area. The presence of this new female tiger raised the prospects of new cubs and an increase in the tiger population, as well as demonstrating the importance of long-term tiger monitoring and collaboration between protected areas.

WWF-Thailand collaborates with Thailand’s Department of National Parks, working in four main areas to ensure tiger recovery in the country:

  1. Conduct long-term tiger and prey monitoring.
  2. Support technology and tools, such as the SMART patrol system, and help build ranger capacity and increased patrolling efficiency.
  3. Improve habitat and help supplement available prey.
  4. Strengthen conservation education and raise more awareness.

Camera trap images like this mother tiger with her cubs are further evidence that conservation efforts are working and we must continue protecting tiger landscapes in Thailand and elsewhere. If we succeed, we will see more of such incredible footage in years to come.