First, the good news. The World Wildlife Foundation and Thailand's parks department have captured rare footage of a tigress scampering through the jungle with her two cubs. This is significant: catching up to wild tigers in Thailand (or anywhere in the world for that matter) is increasingly difficult. Only about 300 wild tigers remain in Thai jungles, according to the WWF, which asserts that global wild tiger stocks have shrunk from 100,000 a century ago to a frightening low 3,200.
There's a certain voyeuristic thrill in watching this tiger unknowingly stalk past a camera with her toddling, little cubs. (As I wrote in 2010, in a piece on last-ditch efforts to save the world's wild tigers from extinction, too many tigers have been skinned or ground into powder for tonics to supply Asia's underground endangered animal markets.)
Now for the depressing part. The WWF has released this footage to help thwart a proposed $400 million Thai dam (Kheun Mae Wong) that would leave parts of these tigers' shrinking habitat underwater. The dam sits within one of Thailand's national parks and is fiercely opposed by environmental groups. One environmental coalition, according to the Bangkok Post, has even sued the government to halt construction.
When rallying for a cause, it never hurts to have baby tigers on your side.