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Conservationists baffled after Bengal tigers are spotted in Dadeldhura

- DR PANTA, JOGBUDHA (DADELDHURA)

Jun 23, 2018-

Tiger population in Nepal is concentrated in the Tarai region. That is, at least, what the consensus was until tigers were spotted in Dadeldhura, a hill district in the far-west.

The first spotting of the endangered Bengal tiger was reported in a forest of the Chure region two years ago. A year later, wildlife conservationists managed to capture a footage of a big cat prowling a community forest. There was another spotting more recently. This time in Beldangi of Jogbudha area just two weeks ago.

Wildlife experts have been left baffled by this discovery. They had never imagined Bengal tigers living that high up in the Chure region.While the Chure foothills were long known for harbouring tiger population, the upper reaches of the region were never considered an ideal habitat for tigers-- until recent years, that is.

Buddhi Rijal, a wildlife expert from Terai Arc Landscape Program, said when they captured a tiger’s footage in Panchakanya Community Forest using camera trap technology, they did no know what to make of it.

“We do not know exactly how tigers managed to get there. Our theory is that the Chure foothills were no longer habitable for them and they moved higher up in search of preys,” Rijal said. “There is also the possibility that they might have come from Indian forests after crossing the Mahakali river.”

Kailash Kumar Pandey, the coordinator of Chure Forest and Environment Conservation Coordination Committee, said there had been several reports on tiger spotting in Jogbudha and the upper parts of Alital of late.

“One of the possible reasons behind these tigers travelling this far up is the link created between the traditional bio-corridor in the Chure foothills and the Shuklaphanta National Park. Maybe they are here because of the change in temperature, drying water sources and urbanisation,” he said.

Assistant Forest Officer Chiranjibi Thapa Magar said Chure region had turned into a haven for different wildlife species after Shuklaphanta National Park was connected with India’s Dudhwa National Park and Jadiyakhal Conservation Bhawar.

“The tigers might have migrated using this route. What we need to do right now is conserve these endangered animals and their habitat,” he said.Already, an anti-poaching team has been formed to protect tigers from hunters and wildlife traffickers.

Chure Forest and Environment Conservation Coordination Committee has meanwhile started to build artificial ponds for tigers in community forests and raising public awareness to conserve them.

Published: 23-06-2018 07:39

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