Conservationists elated at increase in BNP tiger count

- CHANDAN KUMAR MANDAL, Kathmandu

Sep 17, 2017-

Intensified conservation efforts have yielded positive results in the Bardiya National Park (BNP), with the protected are witnessing a significant rise in tiger 

population.

Officials said they were happy to announce an addition of 12 tigers in the BNP. 

The last tiger census in 2013 had put the tiger population in the BNP at 50, up from 18 in 2009. 

During our recent survey, we found 62 adult tigers and 13 cubs, said Conservation Officer Ramesh Kumar Thapa.

Krishna Pariyar, who has been active in tiger conservation for the past two decades, said the big cats are sighted quite often in the park as well as the buffer zone adjoining Thakurbaba, Madhuban, Neulapur, Bagnaha, Dhodhari, Suryapatuwa and Khata wildlife corridors. 

Ramesh Thapa, chief conservation officer with the BNP said the increase was a reflection of country’s commitment towards tiger conservation. 

The BNP, spread over an area of 968 square km, is aiming to contribute to country’s global commitment of doubling its tiger population to 250 or more by 2022, said officials, adding that the recent increase in their number is but a positive sign. 

“We are focusing more on habitat conservation. Habitat protection, availability of water resources and sufficient prey inside the park are main agents behind tiger conservation,” said Thapa. 

The BNP has the highest prey density among all the protected areas of the country. According to the Status of Tigers and Prey survey conducted in 2013, the overall prey density inside the BNP was 92.6 animals per square km and spotted deer was 

the most common species with the density (53.99 per square km). 

Despite increase in tiger population, there has been almost no human-wildlife conflict involving tiger, which park officials believe is due to availability of sufficient prey inside the park.  

BNP has also beefed up security inside the park in recent years. A total of 34 posts of the Nepal Army, most of them set up recently, have been guarding the park. Besides, real-time patrolling and smart patrolling through Global Positioning System (GPS) by security forces have been crucial. 

The BNP of late has also seen a surge in number of tourists. Last fiscal year nearly 18,000 tourists—12,000 domestic and 6,000 international—visited the park. In 2016-17, the BNP collected Rs 31.6 million from visitors.  

There was a significant rise in number of tourists visiting the park after a photograph of a tigress with her four cubs by an American photographer, who accompanied Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio in 2010, was published internationally

Meanwhile, the number of elephants has also increased in BNP in recent years. According to officials, the BNP is now home to 100 elephants. 

(Kamal Panthi from Bardiya contributed to this report)

Saving big cats

Bardiya National Park has added 12 tigers in recent years

 

  • The last tiger census in 2013 put the number of wild cats in the country at 198, an increase in population by 63 percent from 2009 
  • Chitwan National Park: 120 (91 in 2009) 
  • Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve: 17 (8 in 2009) 
  • Banke National Park: 4 (Comeback of tigers)

Published: 17-09-2017 08:47

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