Nim Dorji | Trongsa

Coinciding with the birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche, Bumthang forest division office handed over five power tillers to the communities in Nubi gewog as a gesture of appreciation for tiger conservation.

Chief Forest Officer Pankey Dukpa said: “Although the  farmers are most affected by the big cat, they cooperated with the officials and did not harm the animal which has helped to increase the number of the tiger.”

It was learnt that since 2018, more than 580 cattles were killed in Trongsa dzongkhag alone of which more than 300 were in Nubi gewog.

Since there was no compensation many did not inform the authorities.

The power tillers are expected to help villages continue farm work despite the conflict with the wild animals.

The division has also worked on developing tiger habitats, to keep them away from human settlement and reduce harming domestic animals.

Nubi Gup Ugyen Tenzin said that tigers have killed many cattle in the gewog. “Most of the people depend on livestock,” he said.

The people expected monetary compensation which never materialised.

The villagers asked the Agriculture Minister if power tillers could be issued to them. The gup said that the gewog administration will develop a guideline on how to use the power tillers.

Gagar tshogpa Kezang Jurme said, “It will be an additional responsibility for us since many households have to share one power tiller but we’ll ensure everyone gets the service whenever needed.”

Farmers hire a power tiller paying Nu 400 an hour. The hiring charge for the entire day amounts to Nu 2,500.

The power tillers were funded by the Vanishing Treasures Project led by the UN Environment Program(UNEP) in collaboration with the Bhutan Tiger Center. Each power tiller set costs around Nu 264,078.

Edited by Tshering Palden