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Wildlife habitat overlapping with human landscape and livestock depredation by tigers has been a growing concern in BC 4 and adjoining areas in Zhemgang Dzongkhag. With the launch of Bhutan for Life (BFL) project in 2019, habitat improvement works such as reviving existing waterholes, salt licks and creation of grassland through enrichment plantation with fruits and fodder species have been carried out. Along with the improvement of wildlife habitat, local communities are being educated and made to understand the importance of maintaining habitat as well as conserving tigers for the overall ecosystem.
In consultation and with support from the local communities and livestock herders, the Division carried out grassland restoration works whereby invasive pioneer vegetation covering the grasslands were removed. Fodder and wild fruiting trees such as Persia plant (Kaula), Phoebe (Angaray), Benthamidia sp., Ficus roxburghii sp. were planted in 9.28 hectares at Jangchukling and 1.49 hectares at Tashipokto under Nimshong Beat office and 5.55 hectares at Pangbra under Buli Beat Office. These sites were identified based on the previous camera trap data which indicated the presence of ungulates and tigers.
The camera trap survey was conducted in BC 4 and adjoining areas from January 2020 to October 2020. A total of 146 remote cameras (a pair at each station) were installed at 73 stations of 4 km x 4 km grid covering an area of 1518.1 km2. The camera trap recorded four adults and six cubs. Three tigers are found to be thriving since its record in the 2015 national tiger survey. Two female tigers (BTN 34 & BTN 67) are found lactating three cubs each along with a male tiger (BTN 38). One new male tiger is also captured.
We would like to acknowledge BFL, CA/TS, and UNDP/GEF for contributing to the success of this conservation story.