A Royal Bengal Tiger came into sight at an altitude of 3,640 meters at Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary in Sikkim. Officials state that it is the highest point at which the animal has been spotted in India. 

Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest wildlife sanctuary in Sikkim spanning 128 square kilometers, captured the wild cat roaming at an altitude of 3,640 meters (11,942 feet). “This is the highest elevation in India where tigers have been spotted”, say researchers.

This extraordinary incident took place during the biodiversity assessment of the sanctuary conducted by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) team under the project Conservation and Use of Five Wetlands in three Himalayan States to secure Habitats of migrating birds within the Central Asian Flyway (CAF). 

Trap cameras placed at Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary captured pictures of the tiger at a sweeping height, which were later made public. As per the officials, before this, the highest elevation at which tigers were spotted in India was 3,630 m in Arunachal Pradesh.

Atharva Singh, a scientist associated with the BNHS survey, articulated the uniqueness of this tiger sighting in Sikkim, stating, "To our knowledge, it's the first time a Royal Bengal Tiger has been spotted at such a high altitude. The tiger's presence suggests a potential corridor connecting the North Sikkim region to the adjoining Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary and Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan."

 Singh added, "The tiger may be utilizing the higher ranges of the sanctuary as a corridor to enter the forests of North Sikkim from Bhutan. Further long-term intensive monitoring studies are deemed necessary to gain a deeper understanding of tiger movement in the high-altitude region of the Sikkim Himalayas."

With ongoing threats of illegal poaching to the decreasing natural habitat, the world today has not been kind to tigers. Yet there has been an increase in the number of Bengal and Siberian tigers over the years. The consistent improvement in the tourism infrastructure in key tiger habitats offers visitors good chances of spotting this rare species with minimal impact on the creatures in the wild.

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