New TV footage shows tigers can thrive and breed in Himalayas

September 20th, 2010 - 3:18 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Sept.20 (ANI): A documentary titled “Lost Land of the Tiger” has provided the first real evidence that tigers can thrive and breed in the foothills of the Himalayas, which are more than 13,000 feet above sea level.

A team from the BBC Natural History Unit captured the images using hidden cameras wedged into gullies and trees over six weeks during an expedition to Bhutan.

The documentary will be shown in three parts on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on BBC One at 9 p.m. British time.

Wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan said he was reduced to tears the first time he saw the footage.

The Telegraph quoted him, as saying: ‘It was beyond words, pretty overwhelming. We were there about six weeks. For me the whole purpose of the expedition was to film evidence of the tigers living in Bhutan so all the effort and everything we did came down to a few seconds of footage.’

Buchanan added: ‘This is such a significant discovery for tiger survival. The tigers’ behaviour suggests they are breeding and I am convinced that there must now be cubs somewhere on this mountain.

‘At current rates tigers will become extinct in around 15 years. I have spent a lot of time working with tigers in India and looking for them in Russia and pretty much everywhere they are they face problems. Bhutan is a Buddhist country and they don’t hunt any wildlife and because the country is so wild poachers would find it very difficult to hunt them there,’ he said.

Conservationist Dr Alan Rabinowitz said the discovery took them one step closer to an ambitious plan to link up isolated tiger populations across Asia with a ‘corridor’ where they are safe from humans.

He said: ‘Tigers are thought of as jungle creatures and there is pressure on their habitats from all sides. Yet we now know they can live and breed at this altitude which is a safer habitat for them. Bhutan was the missing link in this tiger corridor.’

The team also captured film of the elusive snow leopard. (ANI)

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