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That went on for 2 years until he became a full-fledged forest guardian, tasked witih patrolling the corridors of the Mae Wong National Park and carrying out anti-poaching missions.
Mae Wong National Park is one of 17 protected areas in Thailand’s Western Forest Complex, which straddles the Tennasserim range on the Thai-Myanmar border. The complex supports a broad range of biodiversity and a high density of tigers. It is also an important watershed for six of Thailand's major river basins.
Forests and life are oneFor Wicha, his life and forests are inextricably linked. They are one, he says.
“Living in a forest is living at home,” said Wicha, who knows nearly every plant species and can relate all about the growth of Mae Wong forest.
“Mae Wong forest has grown more abundantly, and is growing every single day. Wild animals have spread into the area. The forest is more alive each and every day,” he declared.
Capturing wildlife on filmIndeed, camera trapping conducted in Mae Wong forest in the first half of 2012 recorded the presence of nine tigers and two cubs, a much higher number than initially expected by WWF researchers. The presence of the two cubs also indicates that the tiger population is breeding.
Besides tigers, the camera traps also captured photos and footage of tiger prey species, namely gaur, barking deer, wild pig and deer, as well as other mammals, including tapir, serow, Fea's muntjac and elephant.
Over 30 mammal species have been captured on film. But all these are threatened by the proposed Mae Wong dam construction project.
Wicha wishes that people become more caring in conserving Thailand’s natural resources, and believes that one way to encourage this is through raising awareness.
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Mae Wong forest has grown more abundantly, and is growing every single day. Wild animals have spread into the area. The forest is more alive each and every day.