First-ever photos of a royal Bengal tiger captured in the high-altitude Yali forest, located about 25 kilometers from Gangtok.

In a remarkable and unprecedented event, a Royal Bengal tiger has been sighted in the Yali forest, 25 kilometers from Gangtok in Sikkim. This sighting, the first of its kind in the state, has generated significant excitement among wildlife enthusiasts, conservationists, and residents.

This historic sighting was captured on trap cameras set up as part of a joint initiative between the Sikkim Forest and Environment Department and the Global Tiger Forum (GTF), aimed to monitor and protect the tiger population. Earlier also, in December 2023, a tiger was spotted in Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary, in Sikkim.

Royal Bengal Tiger

Sikkim serves as a crucial corridor for tigers in the Eastern Himalayas, hence the Sikkim Forest Department has promptly intensified its conservation measures. These include enhanced patrolling, stricter anti-poaching efforts, and reduced human-wildlife conflict. Additionally, a comprehensive survey and habitat assessment are planned to understand the tiger’s movement and habitat preferences better.

Addressing the decline of the tiger population in the region, the "Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme" in Sikkim, supported by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and funded by German Cooperation via KfW Development Bank, has been implemented by the Global Tiger Forum. 

The project spans several protected areas, including Khangchendzonga National Park, Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary, Pangolakha, Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary, and various reserve forests such as Lachen, Lachung, Chungthang, Phodong, Kabi, Tingda, Lagyap, Yali, and Phadamchen. In addition to this, the Global Tiger Forum (GTF) plans to provide tiger-specific training to at least 100 forest officials and frontline staff to enhance conservation efforts.

The recent sighting underscores the importance of preserving wildlife corridors and natural habitats. It is a testament to the effectiveness of Sikkim's conservation strategies and offers hope for the continued survival of this iconic species. The discovery of a Royal Bengal tiger in Sikkim is a positive indicator of the state’s thriving ecosystem and a call to action for ongoing conservation efforts.

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