KATHMANDU, Nepal- Nepal is home to a total of 198 tigers, according to the 2013 tiger census report, unveiled in Capital Kathmandu on the occasion of ‘Word Tiger Day’ on Monday.
The big cat numbers have now climbed to 198 – a rise of 63 per cent from 2009, when the number was just 121.
The census was mainly carried out in Protected Zones, Buffer Zone and National Parks and Wildlife Reserve areas.
There was no nationwide tiger count in the three years between 2009 and 2013, only separated counts were carried out in specific areas.
However some tiger expert complained that the government of Nepal just kept adding the findings of the new counts to the previous figure each year to show a constant rise in tiger population. They have raised the question over the validity of the census, labeling it ‘unscientific’.
During the programme, Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation Tek Bahadur Thapagharti had released the report.
The new finding showed Chitwan National Park is home to the highest number of tigers at 120 followed by 50 in Bardia National Park.
Similarly, Shuklaphanta houses 17 while Parsa wildlife Reserve provides shelter to seven tigers. Likewise, there are four wild cats in Banke National Park (BNP) and adjoining areas.
A total of 544 possible habitation sites of the tigers were studied with the use of more than 500 digital cameras clicking over 7,699 photographs.
Likewise, a total of 268 Trust’s staff were deployed for 17,628 days to complete the study. In the meantime, the trust has aimed to reach the number of tigers in Nepal to 250 by 2022 with the cooperation of all stakeholders.
Wildlife Trade Control Coordinator at WWF, Nepal, Diwakar Chapagain said the remarkable rise in tiger population was the upshot of joint endeavor adopted by the government of Nepal, partner organizations and the concerned stakeholders in the last five years.
The census financially supported by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Nepal and technically assisted by the NTNC, cost Rs. 35 million, according to Director General of the Trust Megh Bahadur Pandey.
In the meantime, the National Tiger Conservation Committee (NTCC), headed by Chairman of the Interim Election Council Khila Raj Regmi, decided to intensify collaboration with all stakeholders to save tigers from becoming extinct. NTCC also decided to develop genetic profiles of all endangered animals, including tigers.
During a international conference on the tiger held in Kathmandu in 2009, the government had committed to double the big cat population, which was just 121 then.
The endangered species of tiger is found only in 13 countries in Asia.