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Tigers (Panthera tigris) have disappeared from over 90% of their historical range, and extant populations face habitat loss, direct poaching, and prey depletion in otherwise suitable habitats. In Thailand, tiger numbers continue to decline due to prey depletion, yet a few strongholds remain. Recently, tigers have been detected in the Southern Western Forest Complex (sWEFCOM), following intensification of conservation efforts. However, there is still a lack of primary data on the status of tigers and their prey in the sWEFCOM. To fill this knowledge gap, we conducted camera trapping surveys between 2019 and 2020 in Khuean Srinagarindra National Park (KSR) and Salakphra Wildlife Sanctuary (SLP). Located near a tiger source population in Thungyai Naresuan and Huai Kha Khaeng, these areas are potential areas for tiger recovery. In particular, our study assessed the status of prey, a prerequisite to the persistence and recovery of tigers. Based on relative abundance indices, time overlap and occupancy models, we analysed the effect of anthropogenic and ecological factors on the spatial and temporal habitat use of the main prey species. We highlight that anthropogenic factor impacted species-specific habitat relationships. Mainly, shifts in ungulate temporal and spatial habitat use was linked to human activities. These relationships, however, differed between the two protected areas. As tiger recovery depends on prey recovery, we suggest that increased conservation law enforcement and greater engagement with villages within and adjacent to protected areas are essential to minimising unsustainable resource use practices that currently affect prey.
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