In Thailand, tigers represent power, strength and authority and impose fear and respect. Tiger representations can often be found in Thai Buddhist temples, and hermits often wear clothes made of tiger skin for its special powers.
In the wild, tiger sightings in Thailand have been slim. A new population of the endangered Indochinese tiger was recently found in a national park in eastern Thailand. It is believed that fewer than 250 presently remain, though this number has slowly been increasing due to law enforcement efforts and anti-poaching patrols. Several conservation groups believe the tiger rebound is extraordinary, especially considering the devastating human footprint in recent decades.
Traditional Thai Sak Yank tattoos with tigers are a favourite; especially with Muay Thai fighters, soldiers and police. Tattoos with twin tigers are said to help in business dealings, so these are popular with entrepreneurs.
Unfortunately, the association with power and energy means that the skin, bones and other body parts of tigers are sought after for use in Chinese medicine. Although Thai wildlife officials are working hard to save Thailand's remaining tigers, they are under constant threat by poachers.