Tiger prowling near lamai Goempa

A remotely activated camera trap has captured a tiger prowling near Lamai Goempa Dzong in Bumthang valley reconfirming that high altitude areas of Bhutan are potential tiger habitat.

Researchers of the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE) in Bumthang set up the traps in its research preserve near Lamai Goempa.

Tiger biologist Tshering Tempa said the discovery shows Bhutan is a potential tiger habitation. In November last year, camera traps captured a tiger at Kikiphu above Tharpaling monastery in Bumthang valley. “Tigers have been captured at multiple camera stations on multiple occasions,” said Tshering Tempa.

UWICE instituted the camera trapping exercise in May last year as part of long-term wildlife observation in its research preserve.  More than 50 remote camera traps were set in the 2000 hectares research preserve.

Currently UWICE conducts research on forest use and livelihoods in high altitude ecosystems of Bhutan.

“The camera trapping exercise has shown that UWICE research preserve is home to not only tiger but also to many other classical and endangered wildlife species like red panda, wild dog, musk deer, monal pheasant, common leopard, golden cat and Himalayan black bear,” Tshering Tempa said.

Many prey species such as wild pig, Sambar dear, barking dear and serow were also captured on the camera traps.

“The abundant wild pig as main prey supplemented by Sambar deer, barking dear and sometimes domestic cattle can easily sustain tiger in UWICE preserve and nearby forests,” Tshering Tempa said. “The tiger will also prey upon domestic cattle straying in the forest.

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