Nim Dorji  | Trongsa

Farmers in Trongsa received semso for the cattle killed by tigers on the 10th International Tiger Day observed in the dzongkhag yesterday.

Tigers killed 177 cattle in the past seven months.

Nubi gewog lone lost 148 cattle, the highest among the gewogs in the dzongkhag. Farmers lost 10 cattle in Chumig gewog, Bumthang and two cattle in Sephu gewog in Wangdue to tigers.

The forestry department paid nominal cash as a token of appreciation to 138 households. Farmers were given Nu 2,000 for each ordinary breed cattle and Nu 5,000 for a jersey.

Similar token of appreciation will be distributed to rest of the dzongkhags which recorded cattle lost to Tiger through respective gewogs.

A children’s book titled ‘Who am I?’ about Tiger was launched to commemorate the 40th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty The King.

Although the number of cattle lost to Tiger increased over the years, the affected people never received compensation. However, officials said a new policy on paying compensation is drafted.

Department of Forest and Park Services director Lobzang Dorji said although there was an endowment fund to pay compensation in the past, it never worked.

“With not enough money deposited in the bank, the interest was not enough for the compensation. It wasn’t sustainable,” he said.

Lobzang Dorji said that the department is discussing with the Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan(RICBL) for the livestock insurance scheme.

“The endowment fund will be handed to RICBL and the people should deposit a certain premium for the cattle.”

The draft policy is submitted to the Cabinet for endorsement.

Although the exact number of Tiger in the country is not known, according to the survey conducted a few years ago, 103 tigers were recorded. It was learnt that there are five tigers in Nubi gewog area.

Phub Wangdi from Denzhing said that he learnt more about the importance of tiger after taking part in the programme yesterday.

“I’m grateful to the government for the semso,” he said.

Another villager, Sonam Choden said that the new policy for livestock insurance will help them. “I will insure my cattle.”

Head of Bhutan Tiger Center Tshering Tempa (PhD) said that Trongsa recorded highest human-tiger conflicts which are important to be resolved to preserve the big cats. “We are coming up with a project to minimise such conflicts,” he said.

Bhutan Tiger Center will be implementing a project known to protect endangered mountain species, which is also expected to resolve the human-tiger conflict.

Most of the areas in Nubi are close to the forest and a large portion of fields near homes are left fallow which turned into bushes making it easy for tigers to invade.

Tshering Tempa said that the bushes near the houses would be cleared, develop into a pasture and fenced with modern facilities to keep the cattle in.

“Bio-gas implementation is also among the plan, as for the manure to be used for the gas, the cattle should be kept near the homes,” he said.

The 10th International Day celebration was supported by the Bhutan Foundation, World Environment Organization, UNDP, WWF and organised by DoFPs and Bhutan Tiger Center.