Bhutan’s wild tiger population increases 27% from first systematic survey in 2015

  • Bhutan’s wild tiger population has increased to 131 individuals, up 27 per cent since the first systematic survey in 2015 according to the National Tiger Survey Report 2021–2022 launched today.

  • This conservation success is a result of increased law enforcement, community-based tiger conservation programs, and habitat improvement.

  • Bhutan will host a Conference on Sustainable Finance for Tiger Landscapes in 2024 in collaboration with a coalition of major tiger conservation NGOs and IGOs.

Washington, D.C. July 29, 2023 – World Wildlife Fund (WWF) congratulates the Kingdom of Bhutan for successfully increasing its national wild tiger population to an estimate of 131 individuals - up from 103 tigers in the first systematic national tiger survey in 2015.

The results were announced today, on Global Tiger Day, by the Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Dr. Tandi Dorji, following the culmination of the National Tiger Survey 2021-22, which the Department of Forests and Park Services led with support from Bhutan for Life, Bhutan Foundation, Bhutan Trust for Environmental Conservation, UNEP, UNDP, and WWF.

In addition to determining the tiger population, the survey also identifies major threats to these big cats in Bhutan, including poaching, habitat loss, and human-wildlife conflict, and prioritizes actions to mitigate these escalating threats.

Chimi Rinzin, Country Director, WWF-Bhutan, said: “This is a significant achievement and an indication of a very healthy ecosystem. It also underlines Bhutan’s commitment to biodiversity conservation. WWF commits to continue working with the Government and partners towards holistic conservation efforts benefiting both people and wildlife.”

The extensive survey covered 85 percent of the country (32,800 km2) and tigers were photographed at more than 15 percent of the 1,201 camera trap locations, which included for the first time two forest divisions (Dagana and Pemagatshel). Bhutan holds the world record for tiger sightings at the highest elevations, over 4,400m, and this survey confirms that tigers are breeding at a variety of altitudes supporting the notion that Bhutan is a breeding ground for tigers in the region.

Dechen Dorji, Senior Director of Asia, Wildlife Conservation, WWF-US said: “This announcement marks another enormous milestone in tiger conservation efforts globally. Tigers are instrumental in maintaining the healthy forests, rivers, and streams we all depend upon, and Bhutan’s conservation success gives us hope. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of countries and organizations, we are witnessing one of the most successful wild tiger recovery stories in recent history. The report serves as a call to action for continued efforts to protect tigers and their habitats for future generations.”

Major interventions in the last ten years to help the wild tiger population include increased law enforcement, community-based tiger conservation programs, habitat improvement, and human wildlife conflict management interventions.

The National Tiger Survey report and WWF recognize that if tigers in Bhutan are to continue to thrive, human-tiger conflict must continue to be addressed. Increased conflict results in decreased tolerance for tigers and poses a significant threat to both local people and tigers themselves. WWF is working with the Royal Government of Bhutan and partners including local communities, on a holistic approach to managing human wildlife conflict.

As a champion for tiger conservation, The Royal Government of Bhutan, with support from Her Majesty Queen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck, will host a Conference on Sustainable Financing for Tiger Landscapes in 2024. The Conference was announced at the event in Bhutan today and is being supported by the coalition to Secure a Viable Future for the Tiger which includes EIA, FFI, IUCN, Panthera, TRAFFIC, UNDP, WCS, and WWF.


To download camera-trap footage and images access this link.

All images and footage must be credited to the Department of Forest and Park Services, Bhutan © DoFPS

About WWF

WWF is one of the world’s leading conservation organizations, working in nearly 100 countries for over half a century to help people and nature thrive. With the support of more than 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat the climate crisis. Visit to learn more and keep up with the latest conservation news by following @WWFNews on Twitter and signing up for our newsletter and news alerts here.

About the Tiger Conservation Coalition

The coalition is a group of six NGOs that has worked for many years with partners to conserve tigers. The coalition has created a joint vision for “a long-term presence of viable and ecologically functional populations of wild tigers secure in protected habitats, with representation and links across their indigenous range, respected and valued by neighboring human communities and beyond, a magnificent symbol of nature in all its beauty, complexity and wonder for future generations.”

Why tigers matter

As the world’s largest cat and an apex predator, tigers play a significant role in the structure and function of the ecosystem on which both humans and wildlife rely. They are a “landscape” species, needing large areas with diverse habitats, free from human disturbance and rich in prey. Success or failure means more than securing the future of a single iconic species – it sets a precedent for how we will consider and prioritize the health of nature in global development and in a changing climate going forward. For more information see:

For media requests, please contact:

Irene Serrano | WWF- US | [email protected]

Tashi Phuntsho | WWF-Bhutan | [email protected]

Jenny Roberts | WWF-Tigers Alive | [email protected]