Chandan Kumar Mandal, The Kathmandu Post, March 14, 2018
Kathmandu-Officials have completed the field work of tiger census that was carried out in five national parks of the country.
They are now analysing the data that were collected manually and with the aid of camera trapping method.
The tiger count was carried out in Chitwan National Park (CNP), Bardiya National Park (BNP), Banke National Park, Shuklaphanta National Park (SNP), Parsa National Park (PNP) and their adjoining forests.
Laxman Prasad Poudyal, ecologist with the Department of National Parks & Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), said the cameras installed to count the tiger numbers were retrieved, and the concerned national parks were analysing the collected data.
“The captured footage are being analysed by the park officials. After the process is completed, the results will be sent to the department for the final tally,”he said Poudyal.
The census results are expected to released in the third week of April.
The census had officially kicked off on November 30 from the PNP, where over 500 camera traps were installed by dividing the park’s area into 229 grids.
Officials had divided the potential tiger habitats into three parts: Chitwan-Parsa Complex; Banke-Bardiya Complex; and Shukla-Laljhadi-Jogbudha Complex.
The data analysis of Chitwan-Parsa Complex is taking place in Sauraha, Chitwan, at the moment, according to PNP Chief Conservation Officer Haribhadra Acharya. A total of 1,887 grids were delineated, each with an area of 4 sq km; 1,200 high-tech automatic cameras were installed in these grids to track tiger movements.
BNP Chief Conservation Officer Ashok Bhandari said they will shortly begin the process of analysing the data gathered from the Banke-Bardiya Complex.
The Banke-Bardiya Complex was originally divided into 685 grids. More cameras were installed by creating 47 new grids in the northern belt of the BNP after tiger movements were reported in the area.
“Initially, we had not planned to cover the areas near Surkhet, which is in the northern side of the Banke-Bardiya Complex. But
after tiger movements were reported in the area, we decided to create new grids to cover the area for our census,” said Bhandari.
Manpower from the DNPWC, National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), protected areas officials, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Nepal, Nepal Army, District Forest Offices and representatives from the buffer zone committees were mobilised for the census.
The country has set a goal of doubling its tiger population up to 250 or more by 2022 from the estimated base population of 125 in 2010.
The 2013 had put the tiger numbers in the country at 198 tigers: 120 in CNP, 50 in BNP, 17 in SNP, seven in PNP, and four in Banke National Park as per the latest tiger census of 2013.