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First meteor shower of the year to be visible January 4th

Jack Burton

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First meteor shower of the year to be visible January 4th | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: Artists impression. In truth there could be up to two meteors per minute at the peak, but you’ll need to be in a very dark location to get the best from the experience.

Set the alarm and boil the kettle for a wake-up coffee. The year’s first meteor shower will grace Thailand’s skies on January 4, according to the Thai National Astronomical Research Institute. You’ll need to be in a dark location by around 2.30am Saturday morning to experience it.

A spokesman says the best time to view the shower, called the Quadrantid meteor shower, is from 2:30am until dawn on Saturday, as there will be little disruption from moonlight. He added that the shower may produce as many as 120 shooting stars (meteors) per hour.

The Quadrantid shower is considered to be one of the best annual meteor showers. The Quadrantids are known for their brightness. They are exceptionally colourful and their trails persist longer than those of your average meteor. But while most showers have a two-day peak, making them far easier to watch, the Quadrantids peak for only a few hours.

The best tip is to get as far away from street and city lights as possible. On top of a hill is a great location. It may take your eyes 30 minutes to adapt to the dark to get the best experience of watching the meteors. Most meteor showers are remnants of old comets.

When a Quadrantid meteor flares across the sky, you’re seeing a flake from an extinct, near-Earth comet cataloged as 2003 EH1. Discovered in 2003, the object is thought to be the remnant of a much larger comet that broke up long ago.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Thailand

Tigers and tiger body parts seized from Thai zoo investigated for alleged wildlife smuggling

Caitlin Ashworth

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Tigers and tiger body parts seized from Thai zoo investigated for alleged wildlife smuggling | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Esan Daily Online

In a crackdown on suspected wildlife trafficking, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation seized 5 tigers from a private zoo in the Isaan province Mukdahan. DNA tests confirmed that at least 3 of the 5 tiger cubs are not related to the tigers in the Mudka Tiger Park & Farm, leading officials to believe the wildcats were smuggled in, according to DNP director general Prakit Wongsriwattanakul.

Thai media reports say that some of the tigers seized were not alive and photos of a severed tiger head apparently have been posted by various Thai news websites.

Apparently, this isn’t the first time the Mukda Tiger Park & Farm has been investigated. In January 2018, DNP officials seized protected species from the park including red pandas, grey-shanked douc monkeys and elongated tortoises.

Officials are conducting DNA tests on another 20 tigers and the results will be released by the end of the month. If found guilty of wildlife smuggling, the park owner could face up to 5 years in prison.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Protected hornbill dies from gunshot wound, 2 suspects in police custody

Caitlin Ashworth

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Protected hornbill dies from gunshot wound, 2 suspects in police custody | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: เผด็จ ศิริดำรง

A protected great hornbill died after 5 days of medical treatment for a severe gunshot wound. 2 suspects are now in police custody and officers have seized a .22 calibre rifle, according to Thai PBS.

A tourist found the injured bird near the Khiriphet waterfall on Koh Chang. The hornbill, known in Thai as a nok nguek, was treated at the Nuern Plub Wan animal hospital in Chon Buri. The great hornbill’s condition rapidly deteriorated and veterinarian Phadet Siriadmrong says the hornbill suffered brain stem death.

The great hornbill, Buceros Bicornis, is listed as a vulnerable species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. According to IUCN, hunting his substantial threat to the great hornbill.

Hunting poses a substantial threat to the species. Because of its predictable behaviour when regularly visiting the same feeding sites, it is easily targeted by local hunters.

Thailand’s Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act prohibits hunting preserved or protected wild animals. Those found guilty of violating the act could face up to 4 years in prison and a fine up 40,000 baht.

SOURCES: Thai PBS | Bangkok Post | IUCN

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Thailand

Rare sighting of an endangered clouded leopard at Isaan mountain range

Caitlin Ashworth

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Rare sighting of an endangered clouded leopard at Isaan mountain range | The Thaiger
Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation

An endangered clouded leopard was spotted at a mountain range in the Isaan province Si Sa Ket. The rare sighting, captured using a camera trap, was the first time in about 20 years the wildcat has been seen in the Phnom Dongrak mountain range which borders Cambodia.

Since the park rangers stepped up patrol against poaching and made efforts to increase food and water sources, more small predators like foxes, dholes and leopard cats have been returning to the area, according to director of a local conservation office Chaiwat Limlikhit-aksorn.

“Today in the Phanom Dong Rak Wildlife Sanctuary there is a clouded leopard, which is a medium sized predator.”

Camera traps were set up by local conservation officials from November 1 to 24, capturing footage of the rare clouded leopard. The cameras also filmed hog deer, Asiatic wild dogs, a Malaysian night heron and a leopard.

The clouded leopard is classified as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The organisation says the leopard is hunted for the illegal wildlife, adding that the leopard skins have been seen in market surveys along with bones used for medicines and meat for exotic dishes.

Clouded Leopard exploitation for pelts are well documented in several countries, including the infamous Tachilek market along the Thai–Myanmar border. The frequency of Clouded Leopard parts available at market indicates increased pressure from hunting…However, the trade of cat parts from Myanmar into Thailand has diminished and reaffirms the role of China in the trade of cats out of Myanmar.

Sightings of the clouded leopard have also been reported at the Kaeng Krachan National Park, Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Khao Sok National Park and Khao Yai National Park.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | IUCN| Thai PBS

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