Emmanuel Rondeau, an international photojournalist and film-maker, set up eight camera traps in Bhutan and successfully took pictures of wild tigers at over 3,500m above sea level.
During the three-month project to document the country’s wildlife corridors he faced extreme weather conditions and hostile terrain.
His photos verify that the Endangered felines are using the wildlife corridors, which connect protected areas.
“The last tiger survey revealed that there were only around 100 tigers in the wild there, and sure enough it was 23 days before my cameras first picked up a tiger,” says Rondeau.
“When I saw the tiger on my camera screen for the first time, I couldn’t believe it. It was such a clear shot, and exactly what I needed to show that tigers are using these corridors and to help strengthen conservation measures.”
Guided by local WWF staff, Rondeau placed the eight camera-traps in an area of land between two national parks.
Emmanuel Rondeau, photographer and Dorji Duba, ranger, discussing the installation of a camera trap in Biological corridor 8, Bhutan © Emmanuel Rondeau/WWF
They faced a variety of tough conditions, including snowfall and torrential downpours, and one of the cameras stopped working for a while because it got wet.
There are thought to be only around 3,900 wild tigers in the world, down from about 100,000 at the start of the 20th century.
Population decline has been driven by habitat loss and deterioration, as well as poaching.
“Our hope is that sharing Emmanuel’s footage will help make the case for greater protection and conservation efforts in such habitat corridors as this highlights to us all that wild tigers really do use these areas,” says Rebecca May, a tiger specialist at WWF.
Rondeau also captured images of a variety of other wildlife including Himalayan black bear, red panda, marbled cat and takin (below).
A takin, captured by camera trap. Corridor 8, Trongsa district, Bhutan © Emmanuel Rondeau/WWF