More tigers found in Nepal as Nepal-India trans-boundary efforts for tiger conservation intensify
The survey was conducted from December 2009 to March 2010 in previously unexplored habitats in and around the Park. It was designed to assess the status of possibly dispersing tigers in less suitable habitats of the Churia Hills region of the Park, and was based on results from the earlier survey which showed relatively higher tiger numbers in prime habitats.
Located in south central Nepal, Chitwan was declared Nepal’s first national park in 1973, in recognition of the international significance of its unique ecosystems. UNESCO declared the Park a World Heritage Site in 1984, and the area is home to more than 50 different grasses. In addition to the tiger, the Park has populations of other endangered species, such as the one-horned rhinoceros and the Gaur, the world’s largest species of wild cattle.
The tiger monitoring was conducted in a 1,261 square kilometer area, and was a combined effort of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation of the Government of Nepal, WWF-Nepal and the National Trust for Nature Conservation. WWF provided technical as well as financial support to complete the tiger population monitoring.
The findings were released on the occasion of the 1st Tiger Day, which was celebrated in Nepal as a run-up to the Tiger Conservation Summit to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia in September 2010. WWF-Nepal, along with government, private sector and NGO partners, organized nationwide mass awareness events which saw the participation of hundreds of students, the media and the general public.
Tiger Day also marked the signing of resolutions by the Governments of Nepal and India to join hands to conserve biodiversity, including tigers, and strengthen ecological security in the trans-boundary region.
“WWF welcomes the steps taken by the Government of Nepal towards protecting tigers in the form of working with its neighbors in fostering trans-boundary co-operation as well as raising awareness nationally and globally on this issue. As Nepal celebrates Tiger Day today, we can see everyone from the youth to the private sector actively engaged in efforts to raise awareness on tiger conservation. This gives us hope that protecting this magnificent species is very much possible in Nepal,” said Anil Manandhar, Country Representative, WWF Nepal.
The resolutions stress bilateral and regional co-operation, including establishing a joint monitoring mechanism for interaction and intelligence sharing and exploring funding opportunities with a special focus on the protected areas of the Terai Arc region in both Nepal and India.
The resolutions were an outcome of the 4th Nepal-India Consultative Meeting on Trans-boundary Biodiversity Conservation. The Consultative Meeting is a key step towards the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on biodiversity conservation between Nepal and India. The Government of Nepal signed a similar MoU with the Government of China in June 2010, creating a milestone for the co-operation between the two governments for conserving biodiversity, including control in the trade of illegal wildlife parts of endangered species such as the tiger.