Tiger head count begins on Nov 15

Kathmandu, October 22:

A four-month long tiger census is beginning from November 15 to determine actual number of tigers in the country.

“The census is a part of Tiger Action Plan 2008-12, which has been enforced to conserve this rare species,” Samir Singh, communication officer of Tiger Programme of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Nepal, said. Singh added that a comprehensive management plan had been drawn to increase the tiger population in the country by 10 per cent within five years.

The number of tigers in Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve has declined to 12 from 26, according to Wildlife Conservation, Nepal. Poachers moving into the reserve were caught on camera used during a recent research programme in the reserve. This provides evidence that poaching is a significant reason behind the decline in the number of tigers in protected areas, a WCN official said. “Tiger population is declining because there is a great demand of tiger skin and bones in East-Asian markets,” the official said requesting anonymity.

Singh said tiger population is estimated between 340 and 350. “Apart from poaching, habitat shrinkage, fragmentation and decline in prey species are also the reasons behind the decline in tiger population in Nepal,” he added.