Nepal, India chalk out plans to save the tiger

- PRAGATI SHAHI, Kathmandu

Mar 17, 2016-

Wildlife conservation authorities from Nepal and India have concluded that Bawaria and Banjara tribal communities in India pose key threat to tiger conservation, and decided to come up with measures to track down the poachers, monitor their activities and restrict their movement along the trans-boundary corridor. 

A dramatic surge in tiger poaching with cases of arrests and seizures of tiger skins and body parts in Nepal has triggered alarm bells in both the countries. Tiger conservation remained a key agenda of discussion between the wildlife officials from both the countries during the two-day trans-boundary meeting 

that ended in New Delhi 

on Tuesday. 

Fourteen incidents involving arrests of more than two dozen people, including groups of Banjaras, along with tiger parts at different times from different parts of the country, were reported between January 2015 and February 2016 in the country, said Maheswor Dhakal, deputy director general at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC). “This possibly indicates that 14 tigers were killed during the period, as most of the skins were fresh,” he said. 

An investigation by Nepal Police’s Central Investigation Bureau found that six out of the total 14 tigers killed by the poachers belonged to the Bardiya National Park, a potential tiger habitat where the number of the wild cats was found to be increasing in recent years. The CIB has also found that India’s nomadic Banjara and Bawariya communities—notorious tiger hunters—are also in the trade of tiger skins and body parts, said Dhakal. 

“Tiger poaching is not only Nepal’s problem. India is facing poaching as serious threat to the existence of the remaining tiger population in the country. Both the countries have agreed to strengthen their conservation efforts 

at all levels to control poaching and illegal wildlife trade,” he said. 

The tiger population in Nepal is estimated to number around 200 individuals, and in India around 2,200.

During the meeting, Nepali delegates put forward the agenda of signing a memorandum of understanding between the two governments to work on the conservation sector. Despite repeated efforts, no agreements has been signed at government level to tackle wildlife conservation and work towards biodiversity conservation, between the two countries, while Nepal has already signed an agreement with China on environment and biodiversity conservation. 

“We hope some concrete decisions will be taken to enhance the trans-boundary cooperation between India and Nepal, and other regional countries in tiger conservation during the upcoming ministerial meeting next month,” Dhakal said. 

Representatives of wildlife conservation authorities, wildlife crime control agencies and security bodies 

of both the countries participated in the annual trans-boundary meeting to discuss on conservation efforts in both the countries to protect biodiversity. India has also agreed to share knowledge, expertise and provide male gharial crocodiles to the Chitwan National Park to facilitate breeding.

Published: 17-03-2016 08:19

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