Bhutan to adopt CA|TS for effective tiger conservation
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.