The Department of Forests and Park Services has captured a high-resolution picture and video of a Royal Bengal Tiger at a high altitude of 11,733 ft between Wangchuck Centennial National Park and Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. The Corridor 8 was selected for the mission because the area is under pressure from a wide range of human activities. The corridor forms a critical link for tiger movement from Royal Manas National Park to other northern parks through Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park.

Commissioned with support from WWF, the mission took photojournalist Emmanuel Rondeau and three Bhutanese park officials from DoFPS about eight weeks and eight camera traps to capture the image of the magnificent cat. Park officials have also recorded many species of wild Asian cats in the region.

Bhutan’s national tiger survey in 2014-2015 confirmed the presence of tigers in several areas of Bhutan for the first time. It was found that tigers were using wildlife corridors to move between parks.

Agriculture Minister Yeshey Dorji said this calls for scientific management of the biological corridors connecting the protected areas to ensure effective conservation of tigers and their meta-populations in Bhutan.

Although biological corridors are part of the protected areas, there has not been comprehensive assessment or study conducted. Information through high-resolution camera traps is expected to provide Bhutan with a solid basis to start such studies and develop management plans.

There are 103 estimated tiger individuals roaming freely in the country’s wilderness. The estimated range of credible tiger number in the country is within 84 to 124. From 75 tigers estimated in 1998, the population increased to 103 in 2015, 37 percent increase in 17 years.

Global Tiger Day will be observed today at the Royal Takin Preserve, Motithang. The event includes a formal inaugural of the Preserve office including open viewing deck and a pamphlet inviting membership on Friends of Bhutan Takin to support the Royal Takin Preserve.

Staff reporter