Tiger on the Prowl at Lamai Goempa Dzong, Bumthang

The camera trapping team from UgyenWangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE) has captured tiger prowling in the UWICE research preserve, near Lamai Goempa Dzong, Bumthang. This is the first time, a tiger has been captured in remote camera near Lamai Gompa. The camera trapping exercise was initiated as part of the long term wildlife monitoring in the UWICE research preserve from mid May, 2016.  More than 50 remote camera traps are set in the 2000 hectares research preserve. The UWICE research preserve was established in 2014 for conducting forestry and wildlife research.

The result of the camera trapping exercise indicates that UWICE research preserve is home to many other iconic and endangered wildlife species like red panda, wild dog, musk deer, monal pheasant, common leopard, golden cat and Himalayan black bear. In addition, many prey species such as wild pigs, sambar deer, barking deer, and serow were also captured in these camera traps.

According to the tiger biologist, Mr. Tshering Tempa, UWICE, this finding further strengthen the claim that whole of Bhutan is potential tiger habitat. The same team had captured tiger in the camera traps at Kikiphu above TharpalingMonestryin November, 2016. This time, tiger has been capture at multiple camera stations on multiple occasions. “This means, this tiger is a resident and is able to successfully hunt and breed in high altitude mixed conifer and fir forests”, said Mr. Tempa. This is a great news to conservation and success story of our conservation policies and actions.  According to him, the abundant wild pig as main prey, supplemented by sambar deer, barking deer, and sometimes domestic cattle can easily sustain resident tiger in UWICE preserve and nearby forests. This also means that tiger will prey upon domestic cattle straying in the forests. This warrants both foresters and farmers to be vigilant and practice proper herding practice of cattle.

This camera trapping exercise is carried out with financial support from the Bhutan Foundation and the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation.