Buffer zones proven successful for tiger conservation in Nepal

Tigers at the Chitwan National Park. Photo: File photo
Tigers at the Chitwan National Park. Photo: File photo

KATHMANDU, Nepal- A research study conducted recently has revealed that the buffer zones have proven effective in preserving tigers in unexpected ways in the country.

Dr. Neil Carter, a research associate at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center in Annapolis, Maryland, and Princeton University in New Jersey of the United States of America, published new research in the Oct. 18, 2013, issue of the journal Ecosphere that proves the use of buffer zones has improved tiger conservation in Nepal.

Dr. Carter has his research based at the buffer zone in the Chitwan National Park.

Buffer zones were established between the endangered tigers in Chitwan National Park, Bardiya National Park in the country’s Himalayan lowlands.

The people that live near the park have increasingly made unauthorized use of the natural resources in Chitwan National Park and the tigers have responded by moving into the buffer zone as a preferred habitat.

The local people have more input into the governance of the buffer zone and have reacted to that condition by obeying the buffer zone rules more readily than the rules preventing use of the resources in Chitwan National Park.

The success of tiger conservation by the buffer zone method is an example of the need for an understanding of the dynamic changes that any conservation plan must foresee and plan for if it is to be successful.

Carter documented the tigers improved status in the buffer zone with satellite images and camera trap data.

Nepal is home to a total of 198 tigers, according to the 2013 tiger census report unveiled in July on the occasion of ‘Word Tiger Day’. The census finding showed Chitwan National Park is home to the highest number of tigers at 120 followed by 50 in Bardia National Park.

The big cat numbers have now climbed to 198 – a rise of 63 per cent from 2009, when the number was just 121. The population of tiger in Nepal was 126 in 2005, 109 in 2000 and 98 in 1998, National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Department data shows. The five-month survey began in February and assessed the Bengal tiger population across a 600-mile stretch of Nepalese and Indian territory.


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