The Chiew Larn Dam, Thailand's thirteenth, was completed in 1986 and the resulting flooding will destroy 165 sq km of the country's largest remaining area of lowland evergreen rain forest. For the first time ever in Thailand a rescue operation was carried out to try to save some of the wildlife, which includes threatened and endangered species, stranded on islands as the waters rose. In 18 months 1364 animals of 116 species were captured, but 44 died soon after. The survivors were released into protected areas nearby. The operation can be judged successful in some ways, but there were many shortcomings. The author, who was Field Director of the rescue operation, argues that even if these could be remedied in future similar projects, a wildlife rescue operation cannot compensate in any way for the loss of important wildlife habitat.
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