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    Indian, Nepal parks to be awarded for doubling tiger population

    EnvironmentAnimals and wildlifeIndian, Nepal parks to be awarded for doubling tiger...
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    Indian, Nepal parks to be awarded for doubling tiger population

    The TX2 awards for forests and parks doubling the numbers of tigers have been announced. Conservationists had instituted the award as there was a massive dip in the numbers of tigers in the wild.

    This year’s TX2 Award for doubling the population of wild tigers since 2010 will been shared by Tamil Nadu’s Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve and Nepal’s Bardia National Park.

    A second award for Tiger Conservation Excellence will be presented to Nepal’s Khata Forest Conservation Area that secures trans-boundary connectivity for tigers between Nepal and India.

    Besides celebrating the role of staff and rangers attached to these tiger parks, the TX2 awards also are a recognition of the roles played by local communities, conservationists and governments. Tiger trade and the demand for tiger body parts has fueled hunting for tigers for decades and the specie has been rescued from the brink of elimination from the wild by the efforts of forest officials.

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    Tiger range countries will meet at the second global tiger summit in Vladivostok, Russia this coming September to assess progress towards the ambitious TX2 goal to double the number of tigers in the wild and to identify tiger conservation priorities for the next 12 years, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

    Impressive increase in numbers

    Tigers in Bardia have increased by almost five-fold from 18 in 2009 to 87 in 2018. This, conservationists say, is an astounding achievement, given its location in one of the most densely populated regions of the world.

    The ecosystem of the Bardiya national park had deteriorated in the years previous to the project to in 2009. It followed years of resistance as villages were relocated outside the park in the 1980’s. Encroachments on the forests, in the shape of expanding grazing area for livestock and burning have led to diminishing numbers of rhino and the wild elephant.

    An abundance of the deer population, however, is serving purpose of prey as there are five different species (the swamp deer, sambar, spotted deer, hog deer and the barking deer). But park officials feel that a man-animal conflict might reappear with the growing number of tigers that might result in depredation and ultimately cause a shift in tiger diet from deer to livestock.

    According to the 2018 tiger census, Nepal had 235 big cats, up from 121 in 2009.

    The award is a global recognition and it will help in more conservation efforts as well as an increase in the tourism sector of the park, says Bishnu Prasad Shrestha, chief conservation officer of the Bardia National Park. “The award motivates us to work more in the conservation sector and will make us more responsible for tiger conservation and habitat management.”

    Shrestha told mediapersons that there were challenges to the human-tiger conflict in the area. Park authorities have been working to minimise the conflict by formulating a “five-year strategic plan for human-wildlife conflict reduction and management in the Bardia National Park and its environs.”

    According to officials of the Nepal park, 12 people were killed in a tiger attack in the fiscal year 2021/22 in Bardiya. Of these, seven were killed outside the BNP buffer zone.

    Western Ghats hotspot

    13 tiger range countries – Bhutan, Nepal, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Russia, Bangladesh, India, Thailand and Laos – had pledged to double the tiger population by 2022 at the first global tiger summit in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2010.

    With only about 3,200 tigers in the wild in 2010, the summit outlined a plan to double the numbers by the next tiger lunar year, 2022. The tiger range leaders endorsed the global tiger recovery programme to strengthen reserves, a crackdown on poachers and provide financial incentives to maintain a thriving tiger population.

    Sathyamangalam, in India’s Western Ghats hotspot was designated a tiger reserve in 2013. It was home to a mere 25 tigers in 2011. The efforts of forest officials have helped multimply this number over three times. There are an estimated 80 in the area today. The Sathyamangalam tiger reserve connects two other protected areas, supporting one of the most important and largest tiger populations in the world, according to a WWF press statement.

    The second winner Khata corridor is a community-based conservation effort, including a network of 74 community forests covering 202 square kms, that have secured safe passage for tigers between Bardia National Park in Nepal and Katarniaghat wildlife sanctuary in India. Over the last five years, 46 individual tigers have been detected using the corridor together with other iconic and threatened mammal species including the Asian elephant and the greater one-horned rhino.

    The awards are presented by the Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CA|TS), Fauna and Flora International (FFI), Global Tiger Forum (GTF), IUCN’s Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme (ITHCP), Panthera, UNDP, The Lion’s Share, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and WWF.

     

    Image: Hippopx — licensed under Creative Commons Zero – CC0

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