Nepal’s highest ever tiger sighting

KATHMANDU (XINHUA) – A Royal Bengal Tiger has been spotted at the height of 3,165 metres, for the first time in Nepal, in the forest of Illam district in the eastern part of the Himalayan country.

An adult tiger, the largest species of the Asian big cats, was captured by a camera trap twice on November 13 and November 21 set by Red Panda Network, an organisation working in the conservation of the Red Panda, together with Department of Forests and Soil Conservation and Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.

“This is the first time a wild tiger was spotted at altitude of 3,165 metres in Nepal,” Nepal’s Department of Forests and Soil Conservation Information Officer Madharu Karki told Xinhua. “So far a tiger of this species spotted at the highest altitude was at 2,500 metres in Dadeldhura district in April this year.”

The photographs of the tiger were taken by one of 20 camera traps set to monitor 10 wild red pandas equipped with GPS-satellite collars in Kangchenjunga Landscape in eastern Nepal.

Red Panda Network Programme Coordinator Sonam Tashi Lamasaid the tiger was photographed in the forest connected to Singhalila National Park in India’s West Bengal.

The highest recorded elevations for the Royal Bengal Tiger above 4,400 metres in Bhutan and are 3,630 metres in India.

“It might have travelled to the higher altitude to expand its home range and for prey,” Lama told Xinhua. “Climate change could also be a reason but it will be early to conclude without research.”

Karki said as there has not been enough study as to whether the tiger had habitation in the higher altitude earlier, there should not be a hurry to conclude it’s because of climate change. The Royal Bengal Tiger is listed as an endangered species with the population of 235 as per the latest census in 2018.