Conservation

On the tiger trail in Bhutan

A. J. T. JOHNSINGH SONAM WANGCHUK
Maple (Acer campbellii) and wax tree, or Scarlet rhus (Rhus succedanea), lend colour to the forest canopy. Forests cover 81 per cent of the country's 38,394 sq km area. Photo: A.J.T. JOHNSINGH
The Thimphu dzong, the seat of government and the headquarters of the clergy. Photo: A.J.T. JOHNSINGH
The Himalayan woodbine (Parthenocissus himalayana), a climber, filled the forest canopy with patches of red last October, indicating the early onset of winter. Photo: A.J.T. JOHNSINGH
Cattle, such as this, left unattended in the forest are vulnerable to predation. On an average, 52 head of cattle are killed by tigers in a year, and the compensation paid on this account is around Nu.2,48,000 (one Nu is equivalent to one rupee). Photo: A.J.T. JOHNSINGH
Where cultivation of crops is adjacent to forests, as seen here, raids on crops by wild animals have emerged as a serious problem. Photo: A,J,T. JOHNSINGH
A sub-adult goral on a hill slope. Photo: A.J.T.JOHNSINGH
A view of the wildlife habitat. It is suggested that the pressure on the habitat from a growing population can be reduced by encouraging every household and village in the wildlife habitat to grow its own fodder and firewood. Photo: A.J.T. JOHNSINGH
Ripening maple leaves and a sparkling stream. Landlocked Bhutan has four major river systems that flow into India and eventually drain into the Brahmaputra. Photo: A.J.T. JOHNSINGH
A sambar fawn. The sambar has been found to be the most suitable prey for the tiger not only because of its large size but also because of its preference, similar to the tiger's, for dense cover. Photo: Sangay Dorji
In the mountainous tracts of Bhutan it will not be an exaggeration to say that sambar conservation is tiger conservation. Photo: Sangay Wangchuck
A view of the Puna Tsang Chu, known as the Sankosh in India, near Wangdue. The Bhutanese make serious efforts to keep the landscape and waterways clean. For instance, washing of either vehicles or clothes in streams, rivers and other water bodies is a punishable offence. A recent rule is that every vehicle going through Bhutan should have a garbage bag. This is to prevent discarding of garbage along roads. Photo: A.J.T. JOHNSINGH
The takin, the national animal of Bhutan, is found in the higher altitudes where it is an important prey of the tiger. Photo: Nature Conservation Division, Thimphu
The first camera-trap picture of a tiger at 2,765 metres, in the Thrumshingla National Park. Photo: Phot Prahlad Yonzon
The wild pig, because of its wide occurrence, contributes more as prey for tigers. It also causes greater damage to crops than any other wild ungulate. Photo: A.J.T. JOHNSINGH
The wild pig. Photo: A.J.T. JOHNSINGH
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