Nepal is well on track to become the first country to achieve the goal of doubling its tiger population in 2022, as it officially launches the National Tiger Survey from December 5. In 2010, during the Global Conference on Tiger Conversation held in St. Petersburg, Russia, Nepal and 12 participating countries had come with an ambitious plan – double the population of wild tigers by 2022, as part of a global initiative called TX2.
From 121 tigers eleven years ago, the number has swelled to 235 during the census conducted three years ago. Going forward, the Nepal government is confident of achieving the 250-mark by next year. The census will be spearheaded by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, and will begin from Chitwan National Park (CNP), the oldest in the country.
Minister for Forest and Environment Ramsahay Prasad Yadav will inaugurate the National Survey in Sauraha of CNP on Sunday. The five national parks have been divided into three complexes, namely, Chitwan and Parsa, Banke and Bardiya, and Shuklaphanta and nearby Laljhandai areas.
The census will begin from the Chitwan-Parsa complex, where 900 cameras and 100 enumerators have been mobilised, officials said. Around 100 persons including Armed Police Forces, Police Personnel, park staff, forest staff, wildlife experts will be mobilised as part of the census, according to officials.
The highest number of tigers — 93 — was counted in Chitwan, followed by 87 in Bardiya, 21 in Banke, 18 in Parsa and 16 in Shuklaphanta, officials said. The area of the Chitwan-Parsa complex has been divided into three blocks and those three blocks are divided into 942 grids of two-by-two kilometres each, Chief Conservation Officer at CNP Haribhadra Acharya said.
On the grids of each block, two automatic cameras will be attached to trees, trunks and poles at a height of about three to six feet from the ground. These cameras are kept in one place for 15 days and nights. After 15 days, the cameras will be taken out and will be shifted to another block.
Cameras will be kept there for 15 to 21 days and the number of individual tigers will be analysed as per the pictures captured in the field. “It will take two to three months to finalise the result,” officials of the Forest Department said.
“We will identify individual tigers by means of the stripes because every tiger has different stripes,” the official added.