Thimphu: Bhutan recorded six new tiger sightings this year. It was announced by WWF Bhutan to mark the International Tiger Day on 29 July.
Out of six, one tiger each was sighted in Jomotshangkha Wildlife Sanctuary (JWS) and Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary (PWS) while four were sighted under Divisional Forest Office, Sarpang. Bhutan confirmed 103 tigers in the country through its last national tiger survey in 2015 from 78 tigers estimated in 1998.
In early 2020, the JWS camera trap retrieval teams found that a new tiger had been captured on camera in two locations. The last image captured was in 2017.
The PWS team found a male tiger captured in three camera stations while retrieving the footage in early 2020. The patrolling team had also spotted a female tigress and a cub with their own bare eyes but the images could not be captured in the cameras. PWS, the smallest sanctuary is now home to two male tigers and a tigress.
There was only one tiger in Sarpang during a survey in 2015. The recent 34 camera stations had captured 48 tiger images from five camera trap stations out of which four were new tigers.
The Dzongkhag has now five tigers in total.
To acknowledge the effort for tiger conservation, the Royal Manas National Park and Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park were awarded the Conservation Assured Tiger Standards accreditation in 2019. The award indicates that the two parks have achieved the highest global standards of tiger conservation, securing them as safe havens for the species’ recovery.
Meanwhile, the Department of Forests and Parke Services (DoFPS) and WWF Bhutan is exploring innovative ideas to compensate tiger affected communities through insurance schemes and engaging them in tiger conservation.
According to DoFPS, the draft livestock insurance scheme is with the cabinet for finalisation. If the scheme comes into effect, it will cover 60% of the loss of livestock lost to wild animals. The record says that Trongsa has the highest average loss of 600 cattle per annum since 2014.
The next national tiger is expected to be in early 2021.
-ICTD with photo by Divisional Forest Office, Sarpang
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