Preparations underway to conduct nationwide tiger census from SundayThe tiger count is conducted in several conservation areas across Nepal every four years.
Preparations are underway to conduct a nationwide tiger census from December 5.
The counting is being conducted by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation and the authorities concerned are providing training to enumerators and technicians who will be deployed in the protected areas for the census.
National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Zoological Society of London (ZSL) will be providing assistance to the department for the census.
The census will be conducted in various conservation areas, including Chitwan National Park, Bardiya National Park, Shuklaphanta National Park, Parsa National Park and Banke National Park and their surrounding areas, which are home to a substantial tiger population in Nepal.
The technical teams will be using camera trapping methodology in the parks to scientifically monitor the big cats.
According to Chitwan National Park Information Officer Ganesh Prasad Tiwari, the counting of the tiger population will begin after reviewing the images captured by cameras placed at various parts of the census area.
“We place cameras where there is high movement of tigers. The cameras capture all movements, including that of the big cats. We then bring the cameras back and begin counting the number of tigers by looking at their stripe patterns,” said Tiwari.
Tiwari informed that preparations are underway to formulate a plan to place automatic cameras at various locations inside the conservation areas and their surroundings.
“A team comprising of Hemraj Acharya, assistant ecologist at the department, and Baburam Lamichhane, chief at the NTNC Sauraha-chapter, is preparing a plan to place the cameras at various locations inside the national parks,” said Tiwari, “We are also training the enumerators from Friday.”
According to Lamichhane, the authorities have demarcated the areas in Chitwan, including the east side of Bagmati River in Chitwan National Park, Parsa National Park and the nearby forest areas, as the Chitwan-Parsa Joint Area for the tiger census.
“We will conduct the census by dividing this area into three sub-areas which will be further divided into 300 grids of 2kms length and breadth,” said Lamichhane, “Two cameras will be placed in each grid and we will be using around 600 cameras to conduct the census in the Chitwan-Parsa Joint Area for 15 days.”
Lamichhane informed that around 100 technicians will be working to place and monitor the cameras and the work on the ground will take place for around two months. It will take another two months to check the images from the cameras.
“It will take at least four months before we come up with the final number of tigers,” said Lamichhane.
The tiger census is conducted in the protected areas every four years.
The census was first conducted in 2008-2009 followed by the second census in 2013 and the last census was held in 2018.
The number of tigers during the first census held in 2008/09 was 121, which increased to 198 in the 2013 census.
As per the 2018 census, the number of tigers in the country was 235, of which 93 were counted in Chitwan National Park, 87 in Bardiya National Park, 21 each in Banke National Park and Parsa National Park and 16 in Shuklaphanta National Park.
As per its commitment to the Global Tiger Recovery Plan, Nepal is working to double the tiger population in the country by 2022.