The state of Sikkim, characterized by a wide variety of ecosystems, ranging from sub-tropical forests to alpine meadows, is one of the most significant biodiversity hotspots, harbouring a diverse array of wildlife.
Recent camera trap surveys have provided evidence towards the presence of most charismatic species “Tiger” in the state. Presence and movement of tiger, usually on a seasonal basis, is also reported by locals of northern and eastern regions of Sikkim. It is likely that the tigers may have always occurred in Sikkim, however, very little is known on their status, distribution, and their migration routes (inter-state, intra-state, and trans-border). Evidence of tiger presence across the Eastern borders (in Bhutan) further highlight the importance of safeguarding transboundary forest linkages.
During the last two centuries, the tiger population has been declining due to increasing anthropogenic pressures, viz. forest fragmentation, fuel wood collection, poaching and illegal trade, and other reasons. The state of Sikkim is not an exception to these anthropogenic pressures. The State, being a critical corridor for the majestic Big Cat in the Eastern Himalayas, and with increasing anthropogenic stressors, tiger conservation in Sikkim has become more pertinent for preserving the genetic diversity and long-term survival of tiger and its prey.
To understand and address these challenges in Sikkim, the Global Tiger Forum is implementing a project supported by IUCN’s Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme, funded by the German Cooperation via KfW Development bank titled “Investigating and Addressing Tiger Conservation in Sikkim – the Eastern Himalayas” . The project will be implemented in Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP), Shinba Rhododendron Sanctuary, Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary, Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary and reserve forests Lachen, Lachung, Chungthang, Phodong, Kabi, Tingda, Lagyap, Yali, Latui, and Phadamchen.
The overall project objective is to establish and standardize protocols for tiger monitoring and research in the state, reduce human-wildlife/ human-tiger interface, increase the overall household income of the local community; strengthening institutional capacity and maintaining effective monitoring and patrolling regime, while also maintaining the sanctity of the environment.
The project will focus on assessment and monitoring of species and its habitat including corridor (within Sikkim, Sikkim-West Bengal state border and Sikkim-Bhutan international border); strengthen the capacity of the forest personnel towards tiger conservation and its monitoring through training programs and by providing protected area infrastructure i.e., portable patrolling camps along with safety gear. The project will address ongoing human wildlife conflict issues, by installation of solar fencing and other appropriate HWC mitigation measures, while also addressing issues related to feral dog impact, and possible spread of zoonotic diseases. The project will also provide opportunities for sustainable livelihood by promoting ecotourism, nature guide training, providing market linkage and value addition to local produce, which simultaneously supports community development and reducing forest dependency of the community.
Disclaimer: This project is supported by IUCN’s Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme, funded by the German Cooperation via KfW Development Bank. The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of GTF and do not necessarily reflect the views of IUCN, the German Cooperation or KfW.
The 1st State Project Steering Committee meeting for implementation of the GEF-funded GoI-UNDP-WWF-US-GTF project titled “Strengthening conservation and resilience of globally significant wild cat landscapes through a focus on small cat and leopard conservation” was held in the Conference Hall of the Forest & Environment Department, Itanagar on 25th August 2023 in a hybrid mode. The meeting was chaired by Shri Jitendra Kumar, PCCF (Environment, Forest and Climate Change), Chairman of the State Project Steering Committee of Arunachal Pradesh.
Wild tiger numbers have registered an overall increase in several tiger range countries (almost 5574). The status is optimal in tiger range countries of South Asia, with India and Nepal having doubled their tiger numbers (Tx2) since the St. Petersburg Declaration in 2010, and tiger status in Bangladesh and Bhutan remains stable and increasing. Read more
Global Tiger Recovery Programme 2.0 was released at Thimphu on 29 July International Tiger Day by H.E. Tandin Dorji, Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Royal Govt of Bhutan.
Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP) 2.0 has been firmed up by tiger range countries through the intergovernmental platform of the Global Tiger Forum along with collaborators like the WWF. GTRP 2.0 emphasizes on strengthening tiger governance, enhancing resources and protection, while addressing contemporary challenges like Human-Wildlife Conflict.
The new version has retained several ongoing archetypal actions along with new ones for a differentiated approach to save the endangered wild tigers.
Click to view/download GTRP 2.0 Document
Malaysia organised the 1st Pahang Tiger Summit at Kuantan, Malaysia on 28-29 July 2023 to “Understand Malaysia’s Holistic Approach for the Malayan Tiger Crises Action Plan (MTCAP) 2021-2030.
The Summit was attended by the King of Malaysia, the Crown Prince of Pahang, Ministers from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change (NRECC) Malaysia, senior officials of the Pahang State Executive Council, Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN), Royal Belum State Parks, representatives/delegates from India, Thailand, and Singapore among others.
King of Malaysia, Al-Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah launched the first Tiger Reserve of South-East Asia: Al-Sultan Abdullah Royal Tiger Reserve, Pahang, Malaysia on International Tiger Day 2023 during the second day of the Summit.
The Royal Government of Bhutan launched its National Tiger Survey (2022) report at the Global Tiger Day 2023 event in Thimphu, Bhutan.
Bhutan recorded an increase of 27% in tiger numbers from 103 in 2015 to 131 in 2022.
King of Malaysia, Al-Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah launched the first Tiger Reserve of South-East Asia: Al-Sultan Abdullah Royal Tiger Reserve, Pahang, Malaysia on International Tiger Day 2023 during the 1st Pahang Tiger Summit at Kuantan, Malaysia.
The Summit was attended by the King and the Crown Prince of Pahang, the Minister from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change (NRECC) Malaysia, senior officials of the Pahang State Executive Council, Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN), Royal Belum State Parks, representatives/delegates from India, Thailand, and Singapore among others.
The Department of Forests and Park Services will be releasing it’s tiger population estimates during the Global Tiger Day celebrated on 29th July 2023.
Live streaming of Global Tiger Day : https://www.facebook.com/ncdians/videos/940875693649031
The Landscape Level Advisory Committee constituted by Arunachal Pradesh for implementation of the Small Wild Cat project held its first meeting at Pakke Tiger Reserve on 21 June 2023 to discuss the proposed project activities to be implemented in 2023-2024.
A 2-day consultation workshop on formulating Landscape Master plans, Species Recovery Plans & SOPs for population assessment & Monitoring of Small Wild Cats with a focus on Clouded Leopard was organised at Pakke Tiger Reserve on 19 & 20 June 2023.