KATHMANDU, Jan 15: Conservation officials of Nepal and India have agreed to conduct joint head count of Royal Bengal tigers inhabiting protected areas under Tarai Arc Landscape in both Nepal and India.
According to officials, the counting will be done simultaneously in six protected areas in Nepal and nine protected areas in India.
Megh Bahadur Pandey, director general of Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), said counting will begin in the third week of January.
“We believe that this counting will help both the countries know about their tiger habitat, actual number of tigers, and the areas where they roam. These facts will benefit conservation initiatives in both the countries,” added Pandey.
Six of Nepal´s protected areas - Parsa Wildlife Reserve, Chitwan National Park, Banke National Park, Bardia National Park and Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserves - in central and western Tarai share boundary with India´s protected areas like Valmiki, Sohelwa, Katarniyaghat, Dudhwa, and Lagdha Bagdha.
Representatives of the two countries agreed to conduct joint head count of tiger during the 6th International Transboundary Meeting held in Dudhawa of India on January 13. The two sides have also signed an 11-point agreement.
The agreement emphasizes the need to control poaching in transboundary protected areas. It also stresses the need for mutual cooperation of conservation authorities in protecting rich bio diversity in protected areas.
As per the earlier head count, there are 1,706 tigers in India and 174 in Nepal.
Pandey said conservation officials from both the countries have expressed dissatisfaction over the previous tiger count and termed the results of the count unscientific. “Separate head counts by Nepal and India cannot ascertain exact number of tigers. This joint count would give authentic result,” he added.
According to Pandey, camera trapping technology would be used to monitor the movement of the tigers in protected areas. “The photos captured by these cameras would help us identify individual tigers through their skin patterns,” he added.