Wild Tigers Exist in Tibet, Chinese Researchers Discover

By Tristin Zhang, August 8, 2019

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Chinese researchers have succeeded in proving the existence of wild tigers in Tibet. 

Two thermographic cameras, set up in Tuomo county, Linzhi by researchers at Kunming Institute of Zoology, captured three images of Bengal tigers roaming in a forest, the Paper reported on August 6. This is the first time tigers have been photographed in the wild in Tibet. 

Due to the remoteness and isolated location of Tuomo county, the ecosystem of the area is seldom disturbed by human activities. In 1997, scientists estimated that there were 11 wild tigers in the area. 

Despite reports by local villagers of big cat footprints becoming increasingly frequent in recent years, scientists hadn’t come across any proof of the existence of tigers in the area until now. 

As part of an observational study on mammals living on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, a total of 48 thermographic cameras were installed from October to November 2018 throughout the county of Tuomo from 1,000 to 3,400 meters above sea level. 

These cameras captured photos of a number of critically endangered, endangered and near-threatened animals including clouded leopards, marbled cats, Asian golden cats, dholes and muntjacs, as well as Bengal tigers. 

The largest of all Asian big cats, tigers rely primarily on sight and sound rather than smell when hunting. World Wildlife Fund estimates that the population of tigers in the wild is about 3,900. 

READ MORE: China Loosens Ban on Endangered Rhino and Tiger Parts

[Cover image via the Paper

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