CNP sees decrease in tiger population for first time

Chitwan, September 24

The number of tigers is said to have decreased in Chitwan National Park of late.

The number of tigers was continuously increasing in CNP since 1996, but CNP saw a sudden decline in the number in the year 2018 for the first time in the last 22 years.

According to CNP officials, as many as 50 tigers were there in the park in 1996, 50 in 1999, 60 in 2003, 65 in 2005, 120 in 2013. This year there are only 93 tigers in CNP.

Chief Conservation Officer Bed Kumar Dhakal claimed that technically the number of tigers was seen as less but the number had not gone down at the park. “Tigers often stray into human settlements and they easily come in the sight of tourists, park staffers, security personnel and conservationists, among others,” he added, saying that if the number had declined it would not be the case. Dhakal also informed that there was zero poaching in the park in  the last few years,” he said.

The park is regarded as the best habitat for tigers. Tigers get 952.63 square kilometre area in CNP and additional 729.37 square kilometres of area in buffer zone is separated for tigers. Tigers mainly prey upon deer and wild boars and CNP has these animals in abundance.

Tiger expert Dr Chiranjibi Pokhrel said the number of the tigers was seen as less after the floods in Rapti, Narayani and Reu rivers swept away the tigers. He said that the number might have decreased after the floods swept away the animals tigers mostly feed on.

Ecosystem expert Dr Laxman Poudel said it was a serious matter of research to find out how many tigers could be sustained in the park. He said the tigers of Chitwan might have gone to Parsa National Park and India’s Balmiki Tiger Reserve due to overpopulation of tigers in CNP. According to Poudel, there were seven tigers in PNP in 2013 while the number increased by 18 in 2018 while the number of tigers has increased by almost double in BTR. “Both the places are adjacent to CNP,” he added.