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Gewog Tiger Conservation Tshogpa provides relief to cattle owners facing tiger attacks, Punakha

In Punakha, cattle owners in Dragchhukha Chiwog of Goenshari Gewog, have been facing annual losses due to wild tigers attacking their livestock. To address this issue, the Gewog Administration established the Gewog Tiger Conservation Tshogpa. Now, interested cattle owners can insure their livestock and claim compensation if their insured cattle are killed by predators. This initiative brings relief and support to the affected cattle owners.

Locals often allow their cattle to graze freely in the nearby jungle, especially during the summer when they are busy with agricultural work.

However, this leaves their cattle vulnerable to attacks by wild tigers, with locals suspecting the presence of one such tiger in the area.

To protect their animals, locals try to graze them in fields closer to their villages, but it remains a challenging task.

Unfortunately, there is currently no insurance scheme available to compensate for such losses, leaving owners helpless in the face of these attacks.

“To ensure the safety of our cattle, we always keep them with us when we work in our fields. We provide them with water and grass before taking them along. Releasing them in the fields would put them at immediate risk of tiger attacks. Tigers are frequently present in our surroundings, making it unsafe for us to move outside our fields without the company of others,” said Damcho Wangmo, a resident.

“Earlier, two of my cattle were killed by wolves. Later, I lost three cattle to a tiger. This has made me extremely concerned about losing more cattle to wild predators. Additionally, I do not have a large number of cattle to begin with, which adds to my worries,” said Sangay Zam, another resident.

The Goenshari Gewog Administration has launched an insurance scheme called Gewog Tiger Conservation Tshogpa to protect cattle owners from losses. If insured cattle are killed by tigers, the scheme will provide compensation.

The Bhutan Foundation provided Nu 1 M as seed fund to the scheme through the Bhutan Tiger Centre.

Currently, over twenty households in the gewog have registered about 35 cattle for insurance. However, no claims have been made yet.

Interested cattle owners have insured their animals for amounts ranging from Nu 200 to 1,000.

As for compensation, affected farmers will be paid ten times the insured premium amount.

The farmers in Dragchhukha used to gather wild vegetables from the nearby jungle and sell them in the market. Now, they have stopped doing so because they are aware of the presence of a tiger in their vicinity, which poses a safety risk.

Changa Dorji, Punakha

Edited by Sherub Dorji