Tiger count begins in Nepal
Kathmandu, Feb 5 : Nepal has begun a three-month-long census of its tigers which were declared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as an endangered species in 2010.
The census simultaneously kicked off Monday in five conservation areas, which include three national parks (Chitwan, Bardiya, Banke) and two wild life reserves (Shuklaphanta and Parsa), reports said Tuesday.
While all these areas lie in the Terai plains of Nepal, the first counting was inaugurated in Shuklaphanta reserve of the far-west region. Minister for Forests and Soil Conservation Yadu Bansha Jha declared the beginning of the census jointly initiated by the National Trust for Nature Conservation and the World Wide Fund for Nature.
"We have installed 50 cameras in various parts of Shuklaphanta mobilizing 20 technicians for monitoring," Yubraj Regmi, chief conservation officer of the reserve, was quoted as saying by the Republica.
Nepal is home to the Royal Bengal Tiger which lives in the dense forests of Terai plains. The International Union for Conservation of Nature declared it as an endangered species in 2010.
According to an earlier head count, there were around 200 tigers in Nepal. While poaching is a major threat to Nepal's tigers for its valuable skin and body parts, tigers often sneak into human settlements due to encroachment in their own habitats and deforestation in some areas.
In a bid to provide more roaming space and habitats to tigers, the Banke National Park that covers an area of 550 square km was created in 2010 in the mid-western plains of Nepal.