ANN/THE NATION – After 37 years, the Salawin Wildlife Sanctuary in Thailand documented images of an endangered bison for the first time.
The observation on October 8 validated the sanctuary’s unique status as the sole protected forest in northern Thailand where this rare animal has been sighted in recent times.
Sanctuary staff last spotted this bison species in 1986.
On October 28, chief of the Salawin Wildlife Sanctuary Arkhom Boonnontae revealed that the sanctuary’s staff had been installing camera traps to continuously survey the distribution of wildlife in the area, in conjunction with Smart Patrol personnel.
The sanctuary is an important area in terms of ecology and biodiversity for the border forest between Thailand and Myanmar.
Arkhom revealed that they selected areas “where wildlife tracks were abundant or where different types of wildlife were reported to have been seen in the area”.
“And in the early hours of the morning in the past month, we got a photo of a rare wildlife in Northern Thailand, that is a Bos gaurus.”
Based on reports from local residents and staff at the location where the photo was taken, it was found that bison tracks had been spotted in the area every year.
They come in small herds of up to one to three bison, and tend to forage back and forth in the border forest between the Salawin Wildlife Sanctuary, the Mae Yuam Wildlife Sanctuary and Myanmar.
However, with only information from word of mouth, footprints and dung, the officials could not confirm whether it was a bison or a livestock track by villagers, Arkhom said.
Reports from staff and local residents suggested that bison had been using the area for many years, but it was difficult to confirm their presence without photographic evidence, he said.
The discovery of the bison in Salawin Wildlife Sanctuary is a positive sign for the conservation of the species in Thailand.