New camera trap images from Bhutan show that wild tigers are returning to forests they have not been seen in for nearly two decades.
Recent camera trapping exercises have photographed a wild tiger in the Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary (BWS). The last sign of tigers in BWS was in the form of a huge pugmark recorded on top of the Dongla pass in 1997.
Although not a single photo of this magnificent species was found in BWS during Bhutan’s national tiger survey in 2015, the quest for evidence of tigers continued with numerous camera-trapping exercises. On 30th May this year, a tiger was finally captured on camera – at an impressive 3,124m!
"This in itself is an incredible achievement" Chief Forest Officer of BWS, Karma Tempa
Bhutan is one of the 13 countries in Asia that is working to double wild tiger numbers – a goal known as Tx2. The country is home to an estimated 103 tigers and the highest altitude tigers in the world, at over 4000m.
Officials are excited by this sighting, as this validates the need for further research to protect the wild tigers, manage human-wildlife conflict and strengthen anti-poaching patrolling through Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) programmes. This year, Bhutan was the first country to roll out SMART software nationally, a crucial step in helping rangers on the ground protect tigers and other wildlife.