And so our year long project in the Dong Phayayen - Khao Yai Forest Complex has come to an end. It was an incredible year. A year mixed with the highs of experiencing the beauty and biodiversty of the complex and the lows of witnessing
Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation's never ending, yet brave and resolute, struggle against enchroachers and poachers. Individuals who's only wish is to steal Thailand's natural heritage from her people.
Our recent visits to the remote cameras had been reflective ones in the knowledge of the death of a young Dong Phayayen - Khao Yai Complex Ranger, Taweesak Chomyong, who was killed whilst trying to protect the forest from rosewood poachers. And our last visit was the day after another young Dong Phayayen - Khao Yai Complex Ranger, Pitak Khlonglom, was also shot by rosewood poachers but thankfully, survived. These terrible incidents highlighted the dangers present throughout the complex to the forest herself and her rangers.
In spite of the abuse the forest and her rangers witness at the hands of these despicable poachers, the Dong Phayayen - Khao Yai Forest Complex had one last surprise in store for us. A final message for our departure maybe? A reminder from the forest to never forget her?
A camera set that had been all but dormant held a surprise visit from someone we had not seen for over six months. A rare glimpse of the true symbol of the forest's magnificence. For what the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation fights to protect for all Thai peoples. Indeed for the world. One of the 250 remaining Thai Indochinese tigers - Panthera tigris corbetti. Lord of the jungle.