The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation plans to boost forest patrols and upgrade its firearm arsenal in its bid to battle wildlife poachers.
Department deputy director-general Theerapat Prayurasiddhi said the move was motivated by the loss of two forest rangers following a gun battle with tiger hunters in the eastern section of Tak's Thungyai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary on Sept 12.
Mr Theerapat ordered protected area regional offices and conservation directors to find out more about wildlife poachers active in their areas.
The western forest complex covers 17 protected areas totalling 18,727 sq km, including the Thungyai Naresuan and Huai Kha Khaeng wildlife sanctuaries, a World Heritage site.
He asked forestry officials to cooperate with local police to gather information about the hunters.
He also ordered the chief of every protected area in the western forest complex to operate patrols simultaneously today. It is expected that more than 1,000 forest patrol officers will join the exercise.
Mr Theerapat also told the parks' chiefs to check the condition of guns issued to forest rangers and submit the results to the DNP's Protection and Suppression Division.
The department is discussing the issue of borrowing and buying new firearms for forest rangers with the army. Park rangers are currently issued with Heckler and Koch firearms and shotguns, he said.
Most of them are at least 30 years old. More....