INTERNATIONAL

Cheer as tiger population in Nepal’s Terai rises

The tiger is faring better in Nepal compared to four years ago, the tiger survey, whose findings were presented in Lalitpur earlier this week to mark the International Tiger Day, shows. The findings of the survey — conducted jointly with India to avoid double counting in the protected areas that overlap the national boundaries — revealed that the estimated number of tigers in Nepal has risen from 121 in 2008 to 198 in 2012, a growth of 63 per cent that has elated the conservationists. Though conducted simultaneously in the border areas of both countries, the survey’s India results are still being tallied and a joint status report is expected in December.

The International Tiger Day was created in 2010, at the St. Petersburg Tigers Summit of 13 tiger range countries. It resulted in a pledge to heighten national efforts to double the number of tigers in each country by 2022, the “year of the tiger” in the Chinese calendar.



Terai for Tigers

The Terai Arc Landscape is the conservation area to the west of River Bhagmati and east of River Yamuna.It includes four important national parks — in terms of tiger population — two in Nepal Chitwan and Bardiya; and two in India, the Dudhwa and Valmiki. It has the world’s highest density of Bengal tiger population. A meeting of Nepalese and Indian officials held early this year in Dudhwa, the sixth of its kind in trans-boundary biodiversity conservation, called for a joint strategy to recover tiger population. .Mr. Ghanashyam Gurung, the chief of conservation programs at the World Wildlife Fund, Nepal, attributes the improved numbers to the corridor management, as well as anti-poaching units.

“Increased cooperation with China and India, for reducing poaching and trade of tigers, and for improving connectivity have helped,” he says, “as has the expansion of habitat — Nepal created a new national park in Banke district in 2011 and has expanded the buffer zone in the Bardiya reserve — in addition to maintaining the prey species such as the monkeys, deer and boars”.

Conservationists say challenges are not over. Given Nepal’s increasing human population density in the Terai, worrying signs of human-tiger conflicts are already visible with tigers attacking a school outside of Chitwan Park, as well as the rising number of man eaters and the young tigers attacked by the adults in their territory.

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