If we could travel back in time to the Chiang Mai region hundreds of years ago we would find a abudance of amazing animals including the Indonesian Tiger, Malayan Tapir and the Sumatran Rhino.

Whilst today there is still a fascinating variety of tropical birds, insects, reptiles and amphibians, mammals are less common. The region has indeed witnessed the decline and disappearance of numerous species. In the last century, deforestation, cultivation and development have led to the loss of most of Thailand’s primary jungles. Hunting and poaching have resulted in at least 20 mammals going extinct or being endangared in the last century including:

  1. Schomburgk’s Deer (Rucervus schomburgki):

    • Status: Extinct
    • This deer species, native to the plains of Northern Thailand, was last recorded in the wild in 1932.
  2. Hog Deer (Axis porcinus):

    • Status: Endangered
    • While not extinct, the hog deer population has significantly decreased in Northern Thailand, mainly due to habitat destruction and hunting.
  3. Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus):

    • Status: Endangered
    • The Asian elephant population in Northern Thailand has faced a significant reduction due to habitat fragmentation and human conflict.
  4. Dhole (Cuon alpinus):

    • Status: Endangered
    • Also known as the Asian wild dog, the dhole is under significant threat in Northern Thailand due to habitat loss and persecution.
  5. Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus):

    • Status: Endangered
    • Though primarily found further south, historical records suggest they once inhabited Northern Thailand. Their range has considerably decreased, leaving them highly endangered.

While some of these mammals are not extinct, their populations are critically low, making them very rare in the region. Conservation initiatives are essential to protect these and other species, working to restore populations and preserve the biodiversity of this unique area. Northern Thailand, with its enchanting landscapes and rich biodiversity, is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts.