Tigers of Cambodia The people of Cambodia have a significant cultural link with the Asian Tiger.
Also known as the Indochinese Tiger, they are seen all over Cambodia; on sports teams, product labels, businesses, clothing, and signs. Tigers represent power, strength, and courage. They are seen as one of the strongest, most fierce, and deadly apex predators on the planet. Compared to its closest relative, the Bengal Tiger, it is slightly smaller but make no mistake, the Indochinese Tiger is still humongous! Insert photo About the Indochinese Tiger (Panthera tigris corvette) According to Wikipedia, the Males range in size from 255 to 285 cm (100 to 112 in) and weigh between 150 to 195 kg (331 to 430 lb). Females range in size from 230 to 255 cm (91 to 100 in) and weigh between 100 to 130 kg (220 to 290 lb).” Their color is a darker shade of orange than other tigers with more, shorter narrow black stripes (on their skin as well as their fur).
Tigers are solitary hunters and mark their territory by spraying along the borders of their domains. Tigers use their sense of smell not for hunting, but for communicating with other tigers. They inhale scents through their mouths and using the Jacobson organ (a small pouch-like organ located behind their front incisors) can smell and identify other tigers. Tigers like water and swim very well with huge feet that act as paddles. They are very fast but do not climb much because of their weight. Their front-facing eyes give them binocular vision, meaning they can judge depth and distance. Like other cats, tigers can see in the dark. People living near jungles where tigers live often paint eyes on the backs of their hats because tigers prefer to attack from behind.
Tigers & the Khmer Empire The Indochinese Tigers that inhabited the tropical jungles of Cambodia are artistically depicted as statues guarding entrances to Khmer temples and are carved on the walls inside the ancient structures. One such carving depicts a tiger chasing men who have scaled a tree to escape. Aside from lions and elephants, tigers are the most frequently depicted wildlife in Asian art and lore. Insert Pic of carvings The awe Tigers have always manifested in people has unfortunately been the cause of their demise.
Credit : South China Morning Post
The Fall of Tigers China and Vietnam have a large demand for exotic animals. They believe that through the use of specific animal parts, they gain the traits of the animal. Tiger parts have been used in persisting ancient cultural beliefs as talismans, tonics, and in homeopathic medicine, despite scientific evidence proving they do not work. The beauty of the Tiger makes their skin highly valuable and along with claws and teeth, continues to draw high prices on the black market. According to Conservation News; “Tiger parts have been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for centuries.
Tiger bones treat ulcers, typhoid, malaria, dysentery, burn,s and even rheumatism (arthritis). Other parts, like its whiskers, are worn as talismans or protective charms or used to soothe toothaches. Its penis is sold as a sexual tonic, and its skin is valued as a trophy or worn in clothing as a symbol of wealth.” There was an enormous rise in trade after Vietnamese troops left Cambodia in 1989. Their departure opened up vast areas of land for poachers to take advantage of. In the year 1900, there were estimated to be about 100,000 tigers in Asia. High demand for Tiger skin, bones, meat, and various other tiger parts in Vietnam and China led to the decimation of the tiger population throughout Asia. By the year 2000, the total number of wild Indochinese Tigers had dropped to just 3,890. 96% of the world’s tigers have been hunted into near extinction over the past decade.
Credit : ancientamulet.com
The last time a Tiger was seen in Cambodia was when one was captured on a trap camera in 2017. Once known as the Asian Serengeti, there are no more tigers in Cambodia. Insert pic The Year of the Tiger In March 2016, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries approved the Cambodian Tiger Action Plan. This made Cambodia the “first country to acknowledge 21st-century national extirpation (area extinction) of Tigers and to develop clear steps for recovery,” according to Wildlife Alliance. Because of deforestation by Chinese landgrabbers, the areas where Tigers can survive are limited. To survive, their land needs to be guarded against poachers. Not just the Tigers but their prey need protection, without a sustainable diet Tigers will not breed. It took a long time to get Cambodia ready to receive the tigers because of the need for a place that has enough food, more rangers with updated resources, and training to guard the land against trappers and hunters. Cambodia has been preparing to reintroduce Indochinese Tigers for almost 5 years. 8 Tigers are due to be released in the Cardamom mountain region of Cambodia next year. 2022 the Chinese Year of the Tiger. Written by Lorry Kaller