Cambodia’s last wild tiger is dead and he died in captivity. Jasper, as the 21-year-old tiger was called, was rescued as a cub from poachers, who helped drive Indochinese tigers extinct in the Southeast Asian nation within just a few short years.
After being taken from the wild for his own safety in 1998, Jasper spent almost his entire life protected under armed guard in the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre. According to the Wildlife Alliance, a nonprofit that runs the center for rescued animals, Jasper is “believed to be the last remaining Indochinese tiger from Cambodia’s forests.” He died of natural causes in old age.
And so another chapter in the storied life of these magnificent animals has come to an end. And unless conservation efforts are stepped up for the last few hundred tigers in Southeast Asia, where two subspecies have already been driven extinct in living memory (in Bali and Java), the striped predators may well be doomed in the wild everywhere across the region.