Where Will The Tigers Go? | WWF


 
	© Nick Cox/ WWF-Cambodia

The Tiger Landscape

Where will the tigers go?

The Eastern Plains Landscape - Northeast Cambodia
The Eastern Plains Landscape (EPL) is a vast forested region in northeastern Cambodia (and a small part of Vietnam) and is considered to be one of the best potential areas for tiger recovery in Southeast Asia. This is due to the extensive forests and availability of prey populations. The landscape spans an area of more than 30,000km2  and includes four key protected areas in Cambodia and one in Vietnam. These are: Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary, Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary, Mondulkiri Protected Forest, Seima Protected Forest and Yok Don in Vietnam. 
 
	© WWF-Cambodia
© WWF-Cambodia

Types of Forest in the EPL

The Eastern Plains Landscape is characterized by a mosaic of different habitats and forest types. This range in forest type, rather than one continuous cover, is one of the reasons why the landscape is home to such a variety of wildlife species.

The most abundant type of forest found in the region is deciduous dipterocarp forest. Typically this forest will have an open canopy combined with a grassy under-storey. The six species of Dipterocarp-trees found in the Eastern Plains landscape shed their leaves during the dry season months (November to April).

Semi-evergreen forest also occurs in the Eastern Plains Landscape, generally in areas of higher quality soils and at higher elevation.  These forests have a taller and more multilayered structure than deciduous dipterocarp forests. Bamboos are common in the semi-evergreen forests. 
 
	© Andrew Maxwell/ WWF
Rangers walking through the long grass in the Eastern Plains
© Andrew Maxwell/ WWF

Tiger Prey Species

The Eastern Plains Landscape of northeast Cambodia is home to six ungulate species, which will prove key prey species for the tiger when it is reintroduced to the landscape.

Densities of three of these ungulate species are robustly monitored by WWF. These are: Banteng, Muntjac and Wild Pig. See Figure 1 for density data collected by WWF from the 2013/14 dry season. 

It is from this population density data that the EPL's tiger carrying capacity for the tiger reintroduction was calculated.  

Figure 1.

WWF population density data for key prey species based on 2013/14 dry season data using robust distance based line transect sampling within the Mondulkiri Protected Forest core zone (for methodolgy please refer to this paper which used the same line transect sampling) 

Banteng  2.2 ± 0.5 individuals per sq. km. inside the MPF core zone

Muntjac  2.3 ± 0.4 individuals per sq. km. inside the MPF core zone

Wild Pig  6.0 ± 1.8 individuals per sq. km. inside the MPF core zone 

The combined densities of the above three ungulate  species is equivalent to 4.7 individual Sambar deer per sq. km inside the MPF core zone 

Banteng

Density numbers: 2.2 ± 0.5 individuals per sq. km. inside the MPF core zone
Cambodia is home to the largest wild population of Banteng in the world, and as such, this large and relatively abundant ungulate is a prime prey species for tigers. 

In Cambodia, Banteng are considered to be the most beautiful and graceful of all the wild cattle species, and most likely to be the ancestor of Southeast Asia’s domestic cattle.

Once fully grown, Banteng can weigh up to 900kg and reach 7.5ft in length. They are found in open areas close to dense thickets and forests in south east Asia and their diet consists of grasses and other vegetation. 
 
	© Fletcher & Bayliss / WWF-Cambodia
A Banteng in the Eastern Plains landscape - a key tiger prey species for the tiger
© Fletcher & Bayliss / WWF-Cambodia

Muntjac

Density numbers: 2.3 ± 0.4 individuals per sq. km. inside the MPF core zone
The Red Muntjac Deer is the most widespread of all of the 'barking deer' - named for their alarm call they make when a predator threat is nearby.

Muntjacs are small in stature, but the Red Muntjac is one of the larger species, weighing up to 28 kg and would make a good source of prey for tigers. 

The Red Muntjac is generally nocturnal, but in protected areas where the animals are not being poached, they may be active during the day as well. They inhabit a wide variety of forest types and their diet includes young leaves, shoots, tree bark, grass and fallen fruits, as well as small baby birds and eggs. 
 
	© Fletcher & Bayliss / WWF-Cambodia
A Muntjac Deer in the Eastern Plains - a key tiger prey species
© Fletcher & Bayliss / WWF-Cambodia

Wild Pig

Density numbers: 6.0 ± 1.8 individuals per sq. km. inside the MPF core zone
The wild pig (or wild boar as it is also known) is the ancestor of most domestic pig breeds and has one of the largest distributions of all of all terrestrial mammals.

Wild pigs usually live in groups of between 6 and 20 individuals, although large herds of around 100 have been seen.

Although it primarily feeds on fruits, seeds, roots and tubers, the wild pig is omnivorous and has been known to eat a wide range of foods, including some animal matter.
 
	© FA / WWF-Cambodia
Wild Pig in dry forest taken by FA / WWF-Cambodia camera trap
© FA / WWF-Cambodia

Other Ungulate Species

Also present in the Eastern Plains Landscape of northeast Cambodia are Gaur, Eld's deer and Sambar deer (all ungulate species).
 
	© WWF-Cambodia
Gaur and calves caught by WWF-Cambodia SWA project camera trap
© WWF-Cambodia

Gaur

 
	© Fletcher & Bayliss
Eld's deer
© Fletcher & Bayliss

Eld's deer

 
	© FA / WWF-Cambodia
Sambar deer in dry forest taken by FA / WWF-Cambodia camera trap
© FA / WWF-Cambodia

Sambar deer