14 cats caught on camera- India and Bhutan meet to discuss Manas tiger count
Guwahati, Dec. 27: Fourteen tigers have been captured in Manas, straddling India and Bhutan, on cameras that scanned 650km of protected area.
Reports of the joint camera trapping were discussed at a meeting at Bansbari in Manas today, attended by officials from both Manas National Park and the Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan.
Officials from WWF and representatives from two NGOs, Aaranyak and ATREE, who had helped in camera trapping, were also present in the meeting.
Four tigers have been identified as “common”, meaning they were spotted in both countries. Of the 14 tigers, seven are male, six female while the gender of one has not been ascertained.
“There could be more tigers as only three ranges have been surveyed,” Firoz Ahmed, a member of National Tiger Conservation Authority who is also associated with Aaranyak, told The Telegraph.
“Fourteen tigers is a good enough figure considering the prey base and the situation,” he added.
Royal Manas National Park field director Tenzing Wangchuk said today’s meeting was important as one finally has an idea about the number of tigers.
“The figure will improve, as we were not able to work in all the ranges,” he said.
A document prepared by WWF on the Transboundary Manas Conservation Area says the importance of this region for tiger conservation cannot be overstated.
“It is one of our greatest hopes for tiger recovery and doubling the number of tigers here is a goal we cannot only attain but surpass,” the document says.
“By working together, through a coordinated approach to conservation, India and Bhutan can substantially increase the number of tigers in a landscape that is large enough to accommodate them without exacerbating human-tiger conflicts,” it says.
The trans-boundary Manas conservation area straddles the Indo-Bhutanese border from the Ripu and Chirang reserve forests in India in the west to Bhutan’s Khaling wildlife sanctuary in the east.