Walk-shop: A walk for tiger conservation.
On 17th April, 2012, a serene and peaceful valley of Tango-Cheri was filled with a diverse crowd from various organizations like monks from Tango and Cheri monasteries, participants from all time donors for tiger conservation like WWF- Bhutan program and BTFEC, energetic conservationists from JDNP park, representatives from various media agencies and other government agencies. His Excellency Dr. Pema Gyamtsho, Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture and Forests led the Tiger walk organized by WWF-Bhutan in collaboration with the Department of Forests and Park Services. The WWF-Bhutan and the DoFPS organized the walk-shop, so called tiger walk by the participants in order to create an awareness on the importance of tiger conservation as Bhutan is considered as the celebrity for the tiger conservation among the tiger range countries.
The valley is the closest tiger destination from Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan and is considered to be the hub for tigers. So called ideal tiger habitat, Bja-kamji valley (Cheri and Tango river basin) echoed the murmuring sound of Tiger, Tiger, Tiger.....from every individual. To me, as a person working on this very specie and currently holding the responsibility of looking after Tiger Conservation, the word Tiger....Tiger...Tiger......sounded like a dharmic chant for tigers survival for eternity.
To most of the walkers on the day, the tiger pug marks (foot prints of carnivores) and the scratch marks on the tree trunks have been just a hear say, where as for the park officials and fellow conservationists, pug mark, scratch mark, scrape mark (scratch on the ground), scats (droppings) and calls are a daily chant and I call it as a conservation chant which forms the pillar for the dharmic chant through conservation. Among the participants, some are already at the optimum age of growth and have never realized that tigers would be roaming freely in the forest of Tango and Cheri, but as the saying goes “better late than never”, they got to see and believe from the tiger signs that tigers do really live in close proximity to the city. For some, it was a reminder of the legacy from the fore fathers and for others, they took it as a pride of having such a majestic species occupying the forest so close to Tango and Cheri monasteries.
Despite walking for about 2-3 hours on a slippery, rugged and narrow path that tigers and their prey uses, none of the walkers complained of tiredness, rather wanted the walk to be longer to see more of tiger signs along the route. For me and my fellow park officials who are used to with such walks and signs couldn’t believe that there are people who would love to see and feel and conserve tigers as much as we do. It wasn’t a matter of concern, but a joy of relief, but reminded ourselves not to relax as we know that tigers are disappearing in other parts of the world through poaching and illegal trade and tigers in Bhutan are not exempted from this. The day reminded me that if all Bhutanese unite for the cause of saving tigers, our unity will definitely save our tigers in Bhutan.
Let’s term our common effort as “conserving this endangered tigers for our next generation”.
Let our babies now and their babies in future get to see the majestic king of jungle (TIGER) roaming freely in Bhutan