A perfect match
The picture of the tigress and her cub was captured by a camera trap in southern Bhutan, 2013
It was like any other regular working day that spring in 2013 for park manager Kezang Wangchuk as he reviewed hundreds of tiger images captured by camera traps set at the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park (JSWNP) in central Bhutan.
He was looking at the picture of an adult tiger and he thought there was something familiar about it. He then realized that it was the same tiger whose pictures were captured as a cub with its mother in July 2012 between the Royal Manas National Park (RMNP) and Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary (PWS) in southern Bhutan.
To confirm if the adult tiger was the same tiger cub, Kezang and his team of foresters immediately sat down to compare the stripes. “It was a perfect match. We were looking at a full-grown young and healthy male tiger,” said Kezang adding that it was a significant documentary evidence of how the survival and movement of the tiger from the south to central region was enabled by Bhutan’s rich forest cover and biological corridors.
It is also an encouraging indication for tiger conservationists that their efforts in protecting tiger habitats and anti-poaching and retaliatory killings have come to fruition. Bhutan is part of the Tx2 initiative, which is a global governmental goal to double the number of wild tigers by 2022.
Bhutan, along with the other 12 tiger range countries, committed to this goal after it was found that the global tiger population was only 3,200 as of 2010. By 2016, the 13 tiger range countries will need to update their tiger numbers to check their progress towards the Tx2 goal.
In February 2014, Bhutan launched its nationwide tiger survey, which will provide important information on the population density of tigers, their distribution pattern and habitat status in the country.