Wildlife in the north of Thailand

4 years 10 months ago - 4 years 10 months ago #1303 by john floth
Dear all

I am a Student doing an internship at a hotel in the far North of Thailand,in Thaton which is near Fang to the west and Chiang rai an hour and a half to the east. I am pretty obsessed with wildlife to be honest! mainly mammals and reptiles. I am working here for 5 months and I usally get 2 days of a week where i go trekking around the border forests. I have so far seen tokay, many small lizards and geckos, squirrels and some small snakes (various non venemous species). Around the border there are many hilltribes that have, as far as im concerned, pretty much wiped out any obvious large game. I am a keen tracker and I havent even seen a single mammal track in the forests, I've found plenty of plastic bags and bottels instead...

I was wondering whether anyone on this site could help me in finding a place where I could observe wild mammals (actual wildlife not drugged tiger kingdom or riding tame elephants which most tourists cosider wildlife) near Thaton. I am not really financially or time wise capable of going to khao yai or any of the famous places for the weekend because its just too far away. Doi pha hom pok national park (mae fang) is very close to where I am but I heard from other trekkers that that place is pretty poached out, can anyone tell me of a place around here thats still really wild that I could visit for a day or two by bus ????
Thank you!!!

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4 years 10 months ago #1307 by onflipflops
Hoping to hear some good suggestions too. But I can't help you. The only larger mammal I've seen in the North was Goral at Doi Inthanon.

Even though I did not see anything that I remember, maybe Sri Lanna national park could be interesting. It's just a guess/ feeling I got from my short visit.

And for snakes. I did a short night walk on a trail from the camping ground along the waterfalls in Doi Luang national park and found 4 Pope's Pit Vipers (could be these days it might be considered a different species, but anyway beautiful green pit vipers with a bright red ventral line all the way to the eye.)

That's my little experience in the North.

I did enjoy climbing the mountains of Chiang Dao, even without seeing any wildlife.

But anyway, I'm afraid you ended up in the wrong region... wildlife-wise. But I hope I'm wrong

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4 years 10 months ago #1311 by Bagheera
There are many people more qualified and informed than me to give a better answer however I will give my 2 cents anyway.

From my experience there are very few medium to large size mammals in the north of thailand. I spent 6 years in Chiang Mai, much of it spent in the forest on mountain bikes, dirt bikes and trekking and the only thing I have heard of being seen apart from various squirrel species are civets. Personally I never saw them myself but friends have reported seeing these civets on Doi Sutthep and also in the forest to the west of Chiang Dao.

In Doi Pha Hom Pok there is a off road track that we used to use that skirts the burmese border. Along the way we used to pass a few Thai army outposts and the soldiers there have told me they have seen bears and tigers however considering the source and the way Thai's sometimes loosely use the word (เสือ / seua ) this is very unreliable evidence and whilst I don't doubt that they may have seen them at one point in time it is highly unlikely that if there is such a population it is either safe or breeding.

I believe that there is a section on Bruce Kekule's website on the North of thailand where he has documented wild dogs and goral, maybe it is worth having a look to get an idea of what/ what not to expect.

There are 1000's of hill tribe villages in the North and hunting/poaching is rampant, slash/burn agriculture is also prevalent and whilst certain areas still remain nicely forested it is difficult to imagine many mammals thriving there especially larger ones.

Reptiles is something you may have more luck with. I have seen King Cobra, banded kraits, reticulated pythons and plenty of other species of snakes all within a short distance of Chiang Mai. Failing that, maybe it is time to take up an active interest in Birds!

If you have time, perhaps you could try visiting Mae Wong National Park which is about 4 hours drive from Chiang Mai between Kamphaeng Phet and Nakorn Sawan.

There is a possibility I will be moving back to Chiang Mai in the near future and I too am interested to know other peoples views on this subject. I would love for me and onflipflops to be wrong but I fear the situation is not good...

P.S on a side note I would be very careful walking the extreme border regions around Tha Ton, the area is awash with drug traffickers and it would be wise to carry identification on you in case you are stopped/ questioned by the border patrols.

Regards

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4 years 10 months ago #1314 by john floth
Dear all thankyou for your quick Responses, I did,nt expect to get any to be honest!
I was dreading that sort of answer...
I mean Ive been tracking game pretty much all my life (grew up in a nature reserve in Germany), and the fact that even in the thickest Areas ive looked i cant even find a single deer trail or markings is a pretty bad sign I think. Ive spoken to many of my colleagues in the Hotel that say they often go hunting at night for rabbits (probably hares i would say) and squirrels, not because they are hungry but they say its an ancient Thai Tradition (with a shotgun hmmm) but they stopped when the border started becoming dangerous. They now often go around the mae fang national park because they Claim it is allowed and nobody stops them. They told me they never saw deer, pigs, monkeys or anything else that was large and that it was extremely rare to find a Civet. When I told them how People hunt in Germany (sustainably, seasons, culling etc.) they really did not understand.I guess education is once again the biggest factor in saving the enviroment, its frustrating, because the People around here clearly do have enough Food even if they are not well of and it doesnt seem like anyone really cares about stopping them from hunting.
I guess ill have to try and get 4 days of together and then work for more afterwards because its really not easy getting anywhere that is far away and back with just two days of a week.

I was Aware that northern Thailand was not the wildlife Region of the Country but its the only place I got an internship Placement which I needed for my degree. I honestly did not think it would be this dead though.

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4 years 10 months ago - 4 years 10 months ago #1318 by Painted Jezebel

john floth wrote: I was Aware that northern Thailand was not the wildlife Region of the Country but its the only place I got an internship Placement which I needed for my degree. I honestly did not think it would be this dead though.


You are far better being up north than in the south (below Kaeng Kracheng). Northern Thailand, on the Burmese or Laos border is one of the better places to go if you want to stay away from the well known and busy parks like Khao Yai, or Pang Sida. It is very, very much better than the south where I live. Try going to Khao Sok, Khao Phanom Bencha or Khao Luang (the best known southern areas that are safe to visit ), you will not see anything larger than birds, reptiles or insects, not even deers (the occasional Long-Tailed Macacque and that would be it).

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4 years 10 months ago #1321 by onflipflops
I think I need to dissagree a little with that. At least, the Khao Sok part. Even though very little experienced, I've been to Khao Sok once (4 years ago). Got to see macaques, langurs, wild boar, slow loris, palm civet, mouse deer, and heard elephants, though I can imagine that it's not the easiest place to come accross elephants.
And not too long ago the news was showing grazing Gaurs in open areas on the shores of the big reservoir.
I do agree that it's easier to see something in Khao Yai. But I think the North is much worse than Khao Sok.

Khao Phanom Bencha, only remember seeing a slow loris, and 3 poachers... it's a long story, something about getting lost, walking into poachers in the dark, and them helping me out of the jungle rather than shooting me and/ or the slow loris that we came accross... friendly guys, and I was 'happy' to meet them in a rather desperate situation. Saved me from spending an unprepared night in a very dark jungle.
No idea what they were after.

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