Good tiger news from Bhutan

This is a Siberian tiger video.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Bhutan tiger population higher than previously thought, survey reveals

Himalayan country’s first nationwide survey finds 103 tigers, but WWF warns big cat was facing a crisis elsewhere south-east Asia

Wednesday 29 July 2015 10.50 BST

Bhutan is home to more than 100 tigers, a rise of more than a third on the previous population estimate, a survey has revealed.

The first national tiger survey in the tiny Himalayan country, conducted entirely by Bhutanese nationals, has found there are 103 tigers, up from the previous estimate of 75.

But while conservationists welcomed the news from Bhutan’s first nationwide tiger survey, they warned the big cat was facing a crisis in south-east Asia where some countries are failing to assess populations.

Countries need to carry out national surveys as a crucial step in the “Tx2” goal agreed in 2010 by tiger range nations to double numbers of the endangered cat by 2022, wildlife charity WWF said.

Dechen Dorji, WWF Bhutan country representative, said: “The roaring success of Bhutan’s first ever nationwide survey gives us a rare look into the lives of the magnificent tigers roaming across the entire country.

“This is an incredible achievement with great teamwork and leadership from the Royal Government of Bhutan.”

The news, on Global Tiger Day, comes after Bangladesh announced the results from its first national tiger survey which revealed there were 106 wild tigers in the country, a lower figure than the previous estimate.

But WWF said the previous figure was based on less reliable methodology than the new systematic survey which included the use of camera traps, and could have led to overestimates for the number of tigers in Bangladesh.

Experts from Malaysia have suggested that tiger numbers in the country have as much as halved from the previous estimate of 500 in 2010 to as few as 250, and the government has announced its intention to conduct its first national tiger survey.

But tiger numbers are unknown in Indonesia, Thailand and Burma, and there are thought to be no breeding populations in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, WWF said.

Mike Baltzer, WWF Tigers Alive initiative leader said: “There is a tiger crisis in south-east Asia.

“Countries are not counting their tigers and are at risk of losing them if immediate action isn’t taken. Political support is weaker and resources are fewer, while poaching and habitat loss are at critical levels.

“Until countries know the reality on the ground they can’t take appropriate action to protect their tigers.

“WWF is calling on all south-east Asian tiger countries to count their tigers and on the global tiger conservation community to focus efforts in these critical south-east Asian countries.”

There has been some good news for tigers across their range, with figures released earlier this year showing an increase in numbers in India, while Amur tigers are on the rise in their Russian Far East home, according to the latest census results.

Nepal’s last survey in 2013 found tiger numbers had increased there and there are indications that tigers are settling and breeding in north eastern China, WWF said.

Rare Indian monkeys helped by rope bridges

This video from India is called The Golden Langur Conservation Project.

From Wildlife Extra:

New rope bridges helping to save endangered Golden langurs in India

Connecting canopies – ropeways to save the endangered langurs – Courtesy of The Wildlife Trust of of India

November 2012: As humans make an ever increasing indelible mark on the work, wildlife is constricted into smaller and small, and more and more fragmented habitats. In a few places, some allowance is now being made for the needs of wildlife when major obstacles are constructed. Wildlife over and under passes are becoming more common on major roads, fish ladders have been around for many years, and ropeways, already in use in Africa and Australia, have now been installed in a small corner of India to allow endangered Golden langurs to cross a large highway.

Golden langurs – endemic to the Indo-Bhutan region, have been using ropeways to safely cross a 500-m stretch of road near Chakrasila Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS). The stretch of road had claimed numerous golden langurs in the last few years, but since the installation of the ropeways in January this 2012, no death due to accidents on the road has been reported.

Golden langur

The golden langur (Trachypithecus geei) is an endangered primate with its distribution restricted between the Manas and Sonkosh rivers, in Assam. Its range includes The Chakrasila Wildlife Sanctuary and parts of Bhutan. It feeds on fruits, leaves, seeds, flowers etc. It is listed under schedule I of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

On the northern boundary of Chakrasila, the 500-m road separates the sanctuary from plantation forests used by the resident langurs as an extension of their habitat. The langurs were compelled to descend on to the ground and cross the road risking accidents, attacks by feral dogs or even poaching.

“Golden langurs are essentially arboreal and are not agile on ground. What we know is that there were 10 cases of these magnificent animals killed in this stretch since 2005 as per our records. Who knows how many cases went undetected, or how many other individuals lost to other causes due to this fragmentation,” said Dr Bhaskar Choudhury of the International Fund for Animal Welfare – Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI).

As part of their Greater Manas Conservation Project, the Bodoland authorities and IFAW-WTI initiated a Rapid Action Project (RAP) in January this year to help save the langurs. Ropeways of bamboo and ropes were created and strategically placed between canopies of trees in areas regularly used by the langurs to cross over. These ropeways were placed at a height of 60 m from the ground.

“Initially, understandably the langurs hesitated to use these bridges. But now they appear to have been habituated and are frequently seen to use them,” said Dr Panjit Basumatary, IFAW-WTI veterinarian who brought the issue to light.

“This shows the extent of fragmentation of natural habitats and the difficulties faced by wildlife. Nothing would be better than natural contiguous canopy, but such interventions are becoming more and more common and the only way out in many of the cases,” said primatologist Mayukh Chatterjee.

Indian rhino and tiger news


From Wildlife Extra:

14 tigers identified in Manas National Park & rhino gives birth

India/Bhutan cross border park tiger study finds 14 tigers

October 2012. The results of the first combined tiger monitoring study undertaken by Bhutan and India in the trans border Manas National Park identified 14 individual tigers, five each in Manas Tiger Reserve in India and Royal Manas National Park and four being common to both parks.

Rhino birth

One of the female rhinos translocated from the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary to the Manas National Park has given birth to a calf. The rhino, romantically designated as ‘Rhino 10′ was translocated in January 2012. A total of 18 rhinos – ten from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and eight from Kaziranga National Park have been translocated so far to Manas National Park.

The birth indicates that the translocated rhinos have adapted well to the new environment and are beginning to thrive. This is the first offspring to be born to a translocated rhino in Manas.

Under IRV 2020, Manas National Park has been provided much support to upgrade its infrastructure and monitoring capabilities to enable better protection for the translocated rhinos.

New fish species discovered in Bhutan

This video is called Bhutan – the last true Illusion of Shangri-La.

From Kuensel daily in Bhutan:

New fish species discovered in Lingshi

7 September, 2007 – A new fish species, not previously reported in Bhutan, has been discovered in the streams of Lingshi gewog, say officials of the department of livestock.

The Triplophysa stoliczkae, commonly called the loach was first discovered in a stream of the Tshoka Tsho (lake) by Phub Tshering, a park guard of the Jigme Dorji National Park, on September 23 last year.

Mr. Phub Tshering was among the team from JDNP, the Nature Conservation Division and Department of Forests, which, on the command His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, had set out to investigate the possibility of existence of fish in the water bodies of Lingshi. …

The discovery of a new species brings the total number of fish species recorded in Bhutan to about 50, caught and identified by two livestock officials.

The fish is distinguished by black saddle-shaped bands on the back, spotted caudal and dorsal fins, and spotted dorsal surface of outer rays of paired fins and anterior rays. The fish grows up to a length of about 100 mm.

The distribution of this fish species is found in India, Ladakh (headwaters of Indus) and China.

Although the fish has no economical value, it has important ecological import, livestock officials said. The National Cold Water Fishery Centre will undertake studies on the possibility of its use as an ecological indicator (sentinel species) for monitoring environmental health.

The Centre is mandated with compiling a database of fishery resources and water quality of all water bodies, including fishery development in the kingdom.

In the northern rivers of Bhutan, three species of snow trouts, scyzothor[a]x and the brown trout, introduced in Bhutan as early as the 1930s, were found. In the low levels and warmer parts of the country, where the air temperature is above 29C, the Mahseer is found.

The Mahseer species, according to the livestock director, comes to Bhutan during the breeding season in summer and goes back during the winter.

The other warm water species found in Bhutan are pseudocheneis, psilorhynchus, nemachylus, gar[r]a, danius, semiplotus, barsilius etc.

Meanwhile, extensive studies on fish-fauna in the rivers of Bhutan were never carried out before, but officials believe that there may be around 197 species, in line with the fish species found in neighbouring regions in India, Nepal and the Himalayan vicinity.

Video about taimen, world’s biggest trout, in Mongolia: here.