Bhutan to adopt CA|TS for ef­fec­tive tiger con­ser­va­tion

Business Bhutan - - GREEN STORY - Alka Kat­wal from Thim­phu

Bhutan has sig­naled its de­ter­mi­na­tion to se­cure the long-term fu­ture of the coun­try’s wild tigers af­ter it an­nounced that it would be adopt­ing the world-renowned Con­ser­va­tion As­sured Tiger Stan­dards (CA|TS) on De­cem­ber 7.

CA|TS will be pi­loted in three Pro­tected Ar­eas Jigme Dorji Na­tional Park, Jigme Singye Wangchuck Na­tional Park and Royal Manas Na­tional Park.

“Bhutan is com­mit­ted to safe­guard­ing our pro­tected ar­eas for wild tiger pop­u­la­tions to thrive. Be­ing part of CA|TS is a big step to­ward achiev­ing this as it will en­sure that our pro­tected ar­eas meet the high­est global stan­dards for con­ser­va­tion man­age­ment,” said Chief of Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Di­vi­sion in the De­part­ment of Forests and Park Ser­vices, Sonam Wangchuk.

CA|TS is a con­ser­va­tion tool that sets global stan­dards for ef­fec­tive man­age­ment of tar­get species and to en­cour­age as­sess­ment of these stan­dards in rel­e­vant con­ser­va­tion and/or pro­tected ar­eas.

The first speciesspe­cific CA stan­dards are for the tiger (Pan­thera tigris). These in­clude ex­ist­ing tiger re­serves and pro­tected ar­eas that al­ready host tigers, as well as land­scapes that can po­ten­tially re­cover wild tigers. Through CA|TS, tiger sites are en­cour­aged to achieve the high­est global stan­dards through an in­de­pen­dent eval­u­a­tion process.

Bhutan con­cluded a na­tional tiger sur­vey in 2015 that found an es­ti­mated 103 tigers liv­ing in the coun­try’s pris­tine forests, in­clud­ing some that roam as high as 4,000m above sea level.

Bhutan is one of the 13 coun­tries work­ing to­ward Tx2: a global goal to dou­ble wild tiger num­bers by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger. Three of Bhutan’s pro­tected ar­eas are known to har­bor tigers, all of which have been reg­is­tered for CA|TS’ in­de­pen­dent as­sess­ment.

The Royal Manas Na­tional Park is a key tiger land­scape. It forms part of the larger Trans­bound­ary Manas Con­ser­va­tion Area that shares a bor­der with In­dia and is home to more than 1,500 species, in­clud­ing en­dan­gered tigers, ele­phants and rhi­nos.

“CA|TS will help us pro­tect more than tigers. Ef­fec­tively man­aged and pro­tected ar­eas will ben­e­fit other wildlife. It will also ben­e­fit the peo­ple of Bhutan as our forests pro­vide key ecosys­tem ser­vices such as clean water, food and medicine,” said Dechen Dorji, Coun­try Di­rec­tor of WWF-Bhutan.

Cur­rently, few pro­tected ar­eas in Asia are truly se­cured. This has con­trib­uted to a dras­tic de­cline in wild tiger num­bers over the past decade, de­spite ma­jor in­vest­ment in their con­ser­va­tion. By en­sur­ing that Asia’s pro­tected ar­eas are se­cured, CA|TS en­ables gov­ern­ments and other stake­hold­ers to take far big­ger strides to­ward dou­bling wild tigers by 2022.

“Com­mit­ting to the CA|TS stan­dards shows the de­ter­mi­na­tion of a coun­try to save its tigers. Bhutan once again proves to be a global leader in con­ser­va­tion by tak­ing this ac­tion. When all the tiger range coun­tries com­mit to CA|TS, we can be more as­sured that we are on the path away from the ex­tinc­tion of wild tigers,” said Mike Baltzer, Chair of the CA|TS Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee.

CA|TS is cur­rently adopted by Bangladesh, In­dia, Nepal, China, Rus­sia and now Bhutan, cov­er­ing 25 key sites where tigers are known to roam while dis­cus­sion is on­go­ing with In­done­sia, Malaysia and Thai­land.

Tx2 is the global goal, agreed by the 13 tiger range coun­tries, to dou­ble the num­ber of wild tigers by the next Year of the Tiger in 2022. TX2 was agreed in 2010 at the Tiger Sum­mit in St Peters­burg. WWF was a driv­ing force be­hind the Tiger Sum­mit and re­mains a ma­jor force be­hind TX2.

The 13 tiger range coun­tries are Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Cam­bo­dia, In­dia, In­done­sia, Laos, Malaysia, Myan­mar, Nepal, Rus­sia, Thai­land, and Viet Nam.

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