Tshering Tempa, the head of Bhutan Tiger Center while speaking at the Fourth Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation on January 19, 2022, informed that the nation has fulfilled its tiger conservation commitments.
"Bhutan has fulfilled a commitment to monitor and maintain a viable tiger population, mitigate human-tiger conflict, and create an agency within the forests and park services department for tiger conservation," Kuensel reported quoting Tempa.
The Bhutan Tiger Center was established in 2017 to reduce tiger poaching, smart patrolling was initiated and fines were increased from Nu 50,000 to Nu 100,000.
The Land of the Thunder Dragon made these commitments during the Third Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation held in 2016.
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According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), there are around 3,900 tigers left in the world and Bhutan has 103 tigers.
The existence of tigers in the forest is a good sign of the ecosystem's health.
Tigers are the top predators in the food chain, ensuring that the population of wild ungulates is kept in check and that the balance between prey herbivores and the plants they feed on is maintained.
A WWF press release states that at the Fourth Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation, government and non-governmental experts are working to advance the preservation of the largest and most endangered big cat species.
"Bhutan is at the forefront of the global initiative for tiger conservation. The conservation policies in place and political will in Bhutan have consistently considered conservation of tigers to be an important component of the development," Tempa added.
"If there is one singular threat in Bhutan that will undermine the efforts to conserve tiger population, it will be human-tiger conflict," he further said.
Bhutan's almost 60 per cent population resides in rural areas and there are settlements in the protected areas.
The Bhutan Tiger Centre started initiatives such as conservation through compassion, community-based tiger conservation funds, and developing eco-tourism products to improve the livelihood of the people living in and around tiger habitats.
According to the Forest and Nature Conservation Rules and Regulations of Bhutan 2017, criminal offences related to protected species such as tigers, snow or clouded leopards, musk deer, and takin are fourth-degree felonies under the Bhutan Penal Code.
"The efforts to conserve the tiger population in Bhutan will serve as a heart that will pump tigers to other regions in the Eastern Himalayan landscape. If investments are made in Bhutan for the efforts to conserve tigers, tigers can repopulate in other countries," Tempa added.
The three-day conference is being held before the Second Global Tiger Summit in Russia in August where the heads of the states from 13 tiger range countries will meet to work towards the conservation of the tiger population.
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