Endangered black panther spotted on road in central Thailand
Tourists on their way to Kaeng Krachan National Park in the central province of Phetchaburi spotted an endangered black panther on the road as they neared their campsite yesterday morning. National park officials have advised tourists to drive with caution and stick to the speed limit in case they encounter black panthers or other wild animals on the road.
Yesterday, Director of Phetchaburi’s Conservation Area Administration Office 3 Pichai Watcharawongpaiboon said that park officials received a clip from a tourist who encountered a black panther at around 7:05am. The endangered wildcat was spotted on the road 2.5 kilometres away from the Ban Krang campsite, which is located inside the national park.
Park officials have instructed tourists to drive cautiously, and no faster than the speed limit of 60 kilometres per hour. Tourists are also advised not to honk their horns at animals to drive them away, because it may scare or provoke the animal to attack them. The park reported that they have had good cooperation from tourists so far.
Earlier this month, another tourist wrote about her encounter with a black panther, also at Kaeng Krachan National Park. The woman videoed the panther rolling around on its back like a domestic house cat. She said that park officials told her she was very lucky, because spotting an elusive black panther is a very rare occurrence.
It is estimated that there are only 200 black panthers left in the wild in Thailand, so two sightings at the same national park in the one month is either extremely good luck, or a sign that the black panther population is on the rise, at least in Phetchaburi province.
In 2018, billionaire business tycoon Premchai Kanasuta was found with hunting gear and a dead black panther inside Thailand’s Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi province. Premchai got away with the crime for four years, but after political artists and activists lobbied for justice for the slain panther, Premchai was finally sentenced to three years and two months in prison for illegally hunting wildlife.
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