Location and Values: The Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries are located in western Thailand, along the border with Myanmar. The two adjoining sanctuaries form the largest World Heritage conservation area in continental South-East Asia, protecting an exceptional diversity of dry tropical forest and other habitats with their associated plants and animals. The sanctuaries support at least a third of all the terrestrial vertebrates known from South-East Asia, including 120 species of mammals and 400 birds, with 34 internationally-threatened species. These include animals such as tiger, clouded leopard, Asian elephant, wild dog, Asian tapir, gaur, banteng and serow. The sanctuaries cover a series of folded mountain ranges, ranging in altitude from the valley bottoms at around 250m to 1,830m at Thung Yai, the tallest peak. The complexity of landscapes, with its mosaic of vegetation types punctuated by rivers and waterfalls provides an area of exceptional natural beauty.
Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s Conservation Outlook Assessment (2017) the conservation status of the Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries is ‘good, with some concerns’. The IUCN report notes that the site is relatively well protected as a result of its isolation and difficult access, and has an effective legal framework and management regime. However, a number of current and potential threats exist, notably illegal logging and wildlife poaching. Poaching remains the most significant threat as new roads, agricultural development, logging and dam projects in surrounding areas are facilitating access by poachers. Low-level subsistence hunting is occurring within the boundaries of the site as well as adjacent buffer zone areas. High value timbers are being cut illegally for commercial trade in some areas. In addition proposed hydro-power developments in the buffer zone may negatively affect the integrity of the sanctuaries in the longer-term.
Official UNESCO Site Details
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description