DISCOVER BHUTAN: A Safe Haven for Tigers

Over the past two decades, wild tiger populations have faced significant challenges, losing more than 93% of their natural habitat. Today, fewer than 5,574 tigers roam the wild, primarily due to habitat loss and poaching. However, Bhutan has managed to buck this trend, thanks to its robust conservation policies and practices.

One of the cornerstones of Bhutan’s conservation success is its constitutional mandate to maintain at least 60% forest cover. This policy has created an extensive network of protected areas that cover more than 50% of the country’s land. These areas, ranging from lowland subtropical jungles to high-altitude subalpine forests, provide a diverse and secure habitat for tigers.

The latest national tiger survey, conducted between 2021 and 2022, estimates the presence of 131 tigers in Bhutan, up from 103 in 2015. This growth is a testament to the country’s effective strategies and international cooperation.

A significant aspect of Bhutan’s conservation strategy is the adoption of global best practices for managing wild tiger sites. This includes equipping rangers with advanced monitoring and reporting technology to combat wildlife crime more effectively.

Additionally, Bhutan has been proactive in fostering cross-border conservation efforts. The Transboundary Manas Conservation Area (TRAMCA) program, a collaboration with India, has been particularly successful. Since 2010, the tiger population in this area has doubled, reflecting the impact of coordinated efforts across political boundaries.

Bhutan’s high-altitude regions also play a crucial role in its tiger conservation narrative. Tigers have been documented at altitudes as high as 4,400 meters, making Bhutan the only place where snow leopards and tigers share the same habitat. These findings, revealed in the most recent surveys, indicate that Bhutan could be a critical source site for tiger populations in the region.

In April 2024, Bhutan further underscored its leadership in tiger conservation by hosting the Sustainable Finance for Tiger Landscapes Conference. Spearheaded by Her Majesty the Queen, the conference brought together stakeholders from across the globe, including tiger range countries, private and public sector donors, international development agencies, and conservation organizations. The event culminated in the Paro Statement, a landmark commitment to mobilize an additional US$1 billion over the next decade to support tiger conservation efforts.

This initiative aims not only to secure and increase the global tiger population but also to enhance the ecological integrity and biodiversity of tiger habitats. It promises significant benefits for local communities, ensuring that conservation efforts are sustainable and inclusive.

Bhutan’s journey towards becoming a sanctuary for wild tigers began over a decade ago when the country joined a global effort to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022. This journey has been marked by strategic planning, international cooperation, and unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship. Today, Bhutan’s success serves as an inspiring model for tiger conservation worldwide.

As Bhutan continues to prioritize and innovate in its conservation strategies, the roar of the tiger is set to resonate through its forests and mountains for generations to come. The kingdom’s efforts stand as a powerful reminder that with dedication and collaboration, it is possible to turn the tide for endangered species.

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