ANI Photo | Bhutan: Community-based tiger conservation group gathers 40 members to protect wildlife

A local tiger-conservation organisation founded last year in Bhutan’s Zhemgang has gathered more than 40 members so far to protect the wildlife as the issue of human-wildlife co-existence in Nangkor Gewog of Zhemgang is not limited to just guarding crops, Bhutan Live reported.
Although there isn’t a clear-cut answer to this problem, the authorities are figuring out ways to make sure they can safeguard both people’s livelihoods and animals.
There is no formal record, but district officials say the villages in Nangkor Gewog lose up to 10 cattle a month to tiger depredation sometime. Forestry officials say there are around 14 tigers in Zhemgang with the highest observed in Nangkor, Bhutan Live reported.
“They usually attack domestic animals when we let the cattle out in the forest for grazing. For example, last summer we lost a calf to a tiger attack and did not even get to see the carcass,” said Dorjila, a resident of Buli said, according to the Bhutan-based news publication.
Without receiving any compensation, the locals have been losing their cattle to tiger attacks.
A compensation programme was previously started by the district’s forest office, but it was discontinued due to sustainability concerns.
In a statement, a senior forest officer, Phub Dorji said, “In the earlier stage, we faced some glitches in implementing the system, since it was the first time and the people were not aware of it. Moreover, in some places, the system did not work well. After forming the group and coming up with the bylaws, we started compensating the affected farmers. This encouraged more people to join the group. We have four or five people wanting to join as members,” reported Bhutan Live.
Additionally, the district administration intends to expand the effort to other gewogs in the 13th Five-Year Plan if the existing plan in Nangkor proves successful. (ANI)

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