The Royal Manas National Park and Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park getting approved as Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS) sites in Bhutan show the success of the country’s tiger conservation system, according to the Bhutan Tiger Centre.
CA|TS is a set of criteria that allows tiger sites to check if their management will lead to successful tiger conservation.
It was launched in 2013 and developed by tiger and protected area experts.
Ten sites from Bhutan participated in CA|TS, from which eight sites were registered, and two parks were approved, in 2019.
The World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Impact on Tiger Recovery 2010 to 2022 report published this month shows that 21 sites have been CA|TS approved, which signifies the sites have reached globally agreed upon standards of management of wild tigers.
According to the report, CA|TS registered and approved sites cover 25 percent of the tiger range, which includes over 75 percent of the estimated global tiger population.
A total of USD 11 million has been mobilised from agencies through CA|TS to improve site management.
Bhutan Tiger Centre head Tshering Tempa (PhD) said that the accreditation of two protected areas as CA|TS provides an incentive for improving the effectiveness of conservation areas and provides a mechanism for monitoring, demonstrating, and guaranteeing the effectiveness of the tiger conservation system.
He said that for the Department of Forest and Park Services (DoFPS), the CA|TS accreditation of two sites demonstrates the country’s commitment to global tiger conservation efforts. “Having sites CA|TS approved shows a clear indication of professional standards in tiger conservation for a forest-division head.”
Tshering Tempa said that the morale of the frontline rangers has been boosted, as their efforts to conserve tigers and their habitats are being valued and acknowledged by the global conservation community.
According to the WWF, there are 103 tigers in the country and about 3,900 tigers in the world.
Over 80 percent of wild tigers live in WWF supported landscapes. These landscapes constitute 60 percent of the current tiger range.
Meanwhile, the DoFPS has also rolled out a spatial monitoring and reporting tool (SMART) in all the field offices to strengthen wildlife law enforcement patrols and site-based conservation activities.
The SMART platform consists of a set of software and analysis tools designed to help conservationists manage and protect wildlife and wild places.
Human-tiger conflict (HTC) is a grave concern for Bhutanese residing in the villages where tigers roam.
The Bhutan Tiger Centre is launching a safe system approach to manage HTC.
The centre, with funding support from the UNDP GEF-LDCF project, will establish gewog tiger conservation tshogpa in nine gewogs of Nubi, Drakteng, Tangsibji, Langthel, and Korphu in Trongsa, Chumey in Bumthang, Sephu in Wangduephodrang, Trong in Zhemgang and Jigmecholing in Sarpang.
Tshering Tempa said that the gewog tiger conservation tshogpa is an integrated site-based approach to mitigate HTC.
The tshogpa will be responsible to resolve and manage HTC from the gewogs, improving institutional capacity to act on HTCs, and strengthening the community’s ownership in development and conservation issues. The centre would also improve the livelihood of communities living together with tigers such as improving grazing grounds, breeds, herding methods for livestock.
There are programmes such as Youth for Tigers, Hike Along the Tiger’s Trail, and In the Tiger’s Den designed to educate and create awareness about tigers in students and youths.
Second Global Tiger Submit
The 13 tiger range countries, which include Bhutan, are meeting in Russia for the Second Global Tiger Summit this September.
The WWF report highlights that the 2022 Second Global Tiger Summit is a critical milestone that will define the direction and priorities of global tiger conservation for the following decade and beyond, as well as the degree of political attention afforded to the species during that time frame.
Tshering Tempa said that during the Tiger Summit, Bhutan will share how the leadership and will of its people to conserve tigers will enable the country to be the future of tigers and for international agencies and donors to invest in Bhutan for the conservation of tigers.
The National Tiger Survey will be completed in May 2022.