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Tiger terrifies Trongsa farmers

Nubi gewog is fast gaining the dubious honour of being big cat country

Bengal tiger
Camera traps reveal the presence of Tiger in Trongsa

Human-Wildlife Conflict: Farmers and residents of Dorji Goenpa in Nubi gewog under Trongsa are in a state of panic, with a tiger on the prowl.

On the night of July 24, 2012, a tiger killed three cows, left unattended at their usual grazing grounds, a few kilometres from their house.Another cow was killed at its owner’s doorstep.

The cows belonging to four farmers gave about 5 litres of milk a day.One was a jersey and the other three, local breeds, worth between Nu 20,000 to 30,000.

Farmer Wangchuk from Dorji Goenpa, who found his cow dead when he went to milk it in the morning, said cows are left at their usual spot near their homes. "There are also temporary sheds at the grazing ground, where cows stay at night," Wangchuk said.

Wangchuk also lost a bull, two months back, to a tiger.

"Such incidents instill fear in us, and we work in groups," the farmer said.

Dorji Goenpa is about 20km south of Trongsa town with 10 households.A man was killed by a tiger in the area in August 2001.

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Forest officials in Trongsa confirmed the attack was by a Royal Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), the only tiger species found in the country.Footprints and 56 camera traps have confirmed there are at least two tigers in the area.

Officials said tigers attacking livestock was reported from before and, so far, about Nu 200,000 has been paid as compensation to farmers.

"Reports for the recent attacks and killings have been submitted to the wildlife conservation division, so farmers get compensation," the dzongkhag’s forest ranger, Rinzin, said. "Nubi gewog has the highest attack record."

he forest ranger said farmers were repeatedly warned not to take their animals deep into the forest for grazing. "They’ve also been warned not to travel alone before 9am and after 5pm," he said. "Tigers are active, hunting for food, then."

here are about 200-500 cows and bulls in Dorji goenpa. "Annually, about 10-15 cases of tiger attacks are reported," livestock officer, D K Gurung said.

o support tiger conservation and raise awareness on the plight of endangered tigers in the wild, the third Tiger Day will be observed in Trongsa tomorrow.

Tigers in Bhutan are protected under the schedule I of Forest and Nature Conservation Act, 1995. Its habitat in the country extends from altitude 150m in the south to 4,200m to the north.Trongsa is a tiger hotspot.

Contributed by Passang Norbu, KUENSEL, Bhutan's National Newspaper 2012
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