In 1965, logging concessions and poaching increased dramatically because there was a high abundance of natural resources in Thungyai Forest. This has pushed the Royal Forest Department to declare this area as the “Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary” (TY) in 1974. It was named after King Naresuan as his troops had stopped in this large plain area before battling with Myanmar. TY was covering an area of approximately 3,200 km2. It was then combined with Pa Nam Jon National Reserved Forest. Totally, TY is about 3,650 km2. Regarding its large size, TY was then divided into Thungyai Naresuan East (TYE; 1,520 km2) and Thungyai Naresuan West (TYW; 2,130 km2) Wildlife Sanctuaries for better management in 1991. TY is located in Kanchanaburi and Tak Provinces in connection with Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary (UMP).
Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary is the largest intact forest in Thailand and even in South East Asia with an area of more than 6,000 km2 with intense wildlife diversity. The sanctuaries are located at the core area of the Western Forest Complex (WEFCOM). Additionally, there is a largely unique grassland that lies at the heart of TYE and TYW which provides habitat for ungulates and other wildlife. Due to its natural significance, therefore, it was declared as a World Heritage Site in 1991.
In regards to its natural value and importance, patrol is crucial in guarding these precious wildlife and plants. The effective patrol system should be systematically operated with good quality. In addition, the protected area should be managed in a more transparent and efficient way under concrete monitoring. Thus, system components should consist of GPS, database, and GIS along with cooperation among the public. Therefore, strengthening the patrol system is important for maximizing best practices and utilizing the power of information to increase the effectiveness of law enforcement in order to protect wildlife and its habitat in protected areas.
The Smart Patrol System has been continuously and intensively developed in TYE, TYW and UMP since 2005 when the patrol database was developed from MIKE (Monitoring Illegal Killing of Elephants). The database was then developed under the MIST (Spatial Management Information System) during 2008-2013. Starting in 2014 and continuing now, a new powerful patrol database called SMART (Spatial Monitoring And Reporting Tool) was introduced.
Currently, threats from poachers are increasing while numbers of patrol rangers and equipment are insufficient compared to the large-size wildlife sanctuary. In order to tackle various types of threats with modern equipment, therefore, we aim to strengthen the effectiveness of patrol teams regarding threat detection and prevention to increase knowledge of natural resources in the area and to modernize patrol activities with information technology for better site protection. All factors mentioned above are significant in helping to minimize threats in the area. In addition, WCS also aims to set the “SMART” database system in order to receive patrol information which will provide patrol reports and be used for further effective patrol plans.