India and Nepal announce joint tiger survey
“Bilateral meetings between India and Nepal have resulted in positive outcomes for wildlife conservation,” said Dr S. P. Yadav, Deputy Inspector General of the Government of India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority. “Our governments need to continue strengthening trans-boundary ties for protecting tigers and enabling their free movement between India and Nepal.”
Government-led teams will work with partners, including WWF Nepal, from January to March 2013. On the Indian side, fieldwork for the survey had begun in November 2012. The survey will use camera trap technologies and other methods to provide an estimate of tiger populations, prey abundance and density. It will cover all 15 protected areas in the Terai Arc Landscape, as well as other possible areas where tigers may be living and moving i.e. community forests, park buffer zones and critical “green corridors” that link the various forest patches. The protected areas covered include well-known tiger areas such as India’s Corbett Tiger Reserve and Nepal’s Chitwan National Park. India and Nepal will produce a joint tiger status report on the survey results.
“This shared conservation landscape gives our governments common ground to work together to save wild tigers, which is a source of pride for us all,” said Mr. Bishwo Nath Oli, head of the Nepal delegation and Joint Secretary of the Government of Nepal’s Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation. “The survey results will play an important role in shaping strategies to get us to our ultimate goal of Tx2, doubling the number of wild tigers, which was set during the historic Tiger summit in 2010.”
Current estimates put the tiger population in the Terai Arc Landscape at 500, making it a region with one of the highest tiger densities in the world. Stretching 965 km across India and Nepal, the Terai Arc Landscape allows tigers to disperse, conserving their natural behaviour, ecology, and genetic diversity. It has become a global priority for tiger conservation since its inception more than a decade ago.
“WWF is proud to be a partner in this landmark survey and we remain committed to saving wild tigers in the Terai, something we have been actively involved in since our very first tiger conservation project with the Government of Nepal in the early 1970s,” said Mr. Anil Manandhar, WWF Nepal Country Representative. “Saving tigers requires collaborative actions to curb wildlife crime, together with managing the tiger’s habitat, which is a primary challenge in the landscape.”
The two-day meeting agreed on an 11-point resolution that stressed on, amongst others, strengthening trans-boundary efforts in curbing poaching and the illegal trade of wildlife and forest products, preparing tiger recovery plans for selected trans-boundary sites, pursuing proactive measures to mitigate human-wildlife conflict, promoting smart infrastructure development that does not adversely affect key wildlife habitat, and promoting exchange visits to learn best practices in community participation in conservation. A committee at the central and field levels will be established and mobilized to help take action on the agreed resolutions.
“The Terai Arc joint survey is an excellent opportunity for India and Nepal to strengthen their trans-boundary cooperation,” said Mr. Ravi Singh, CEO and Secretary General of WWF-India. “WWF hopes that the results of this survey will lead to better understanding of the status of tigers in the Terai and stronger on-the-ground conservation actions that will ensure the long-term survival of tigers and other wildlife in this area. WWF thanks and acknowledges the efforts and actions of the governments and their agencies, including the Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar Forest Departments.”
For more information contact:
Akash Shrestha, Sr. Communications and Marketing Manager, WWF Nepal, +977 9801057566, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anil Cherukupalli, Sr. Communications Officer-Species and Landscapes, WWF India, +91 11 4150 4783, email@example.com