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103 wild tigers in Bhutan - A Roaring Success

Coinciding with Global Tiger Day 2015, the Prime Minister of Bhutan, His Excellency Tshering Tobgay launched Bhutan's National Tiger Survey Report (2014-2015) on 29 July 2015 at the Royal Convention Centre, Thimphu.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that the presence of 103 tigers in Bhutan from 150 meters to as high as 4,200 meters was an indication of the country's healthy and robust ecosystem. He applauded the team of Bhutanese professionals (from the Department of Forests and Park Services (DoFPS), Ministry of Agriculture and Forests), for leading and implementing the nation-wide survey from February 2014 to March 2015.

"It is the collective responsibility of the Bhutanese people to protect the tigers - Bhutan's national wealth," he said.

According to DoFPS, the National Tiger Survey of Bhutan (2014-2015) used the latest survey methods and equipment such as spatial capture-recapture (SCR) estimation methods and advanced models of camera traps to reliably estimate tiger population and density in Bhutan.

The current study further ascertains Bhutan as an important tiger conservation area in the Eastern Himalayan region. It is also evident that Bhutan is a source population for tigers in the region as revealed by the presence of multiple female tigers with cubs at various locations.

Bhutan forms the critical conservation area with the global priority Tiger Conservation Landscapes (TCL) 37 for the long-term persistence of this endangered cat species in the region. These are encouraging news in the current face of dwindling tiger populations in most of the Tiger Range Countries.

With this survey, Bhutan is now on the list of tiger champions along with Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Russia, as countries to have carried out national tiger surveys, a crucial step in the TX2 goal to double wild tiger numbers by 2022.

"The roaring success of Bhutan's national survey gifts us a rare look into the lives of the magnificent tigers roaming across the entire country," said WWF Bhutan Country Representative Dechen Dorji.

"This is an incredible achievement with great team work and leadership from the Royal Government of Bhutan," he added.

The Royal Government of Bhutan dedicated the successful national tiger survey to the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck for his exemplary leadership in conservation in Bhutan and beyond.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), World Bank's International Development Association and Bhutan Foundation provided financial support to carry out the survey.

The Global Tiger Day 2015 was attended by the Chief Justice of Bhutan, Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentarians, Royal Privy Council, senior government officials, Heads and Representatives of International Organizations, DoFPS staff from field divisions, teachers and students.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister also launched the Bhutan Forest & Wildlife Enforcement Database of the Department of Forests and Park Services (DoFPS). The online database on illegal forest and wildlife trade in Bhutan will further streamline and enhance patrolling in the parks and other field divisions.

Source: WWF Bhutan, 29 July 2015
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