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India, Nepal to jointly work for tiger conservation

KATHMANDU: Encouraged by the remarkablegrowth of its tiger population over the past few years, Nepal is working with India for joint conservation efforts for the endangered big cats. 

Nepal is also collaborating with India with a view to doubling its tiger population by 2022 and plans to match the number of tigers with that of India. 

The tiger is regarded as an endangered animal and is listed in the 
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

Though the population of tigers has declined globally, India and Nepal have succeeded in preserving the big cats with intensified conservation efforts. 

The latest 
tiger census puts the number of Royal Bengal Tigers, or 'Pate Bagh' in Nepali language, at 198. In 2009 there were only 121 tigers in the five protected areas of Nepal, which grew by 64 per cent to 198 in 2012. 

The aim is to get the most accurate data on tiger population in all 11 protected areas along Nepal-India border, according to 
World Wildlife Nepal (WWF) Nepal office. 

India has also started counting its tiger population recently but is yet to complete it. 

India has the largest number of wild tigers in the world, with an estimated 1,700 to 1,900 big cats.

A team of experts including 
WWF Nepal staff is visiting India this month for matching the number of tigers in the protected areas along Nepal-India border, says Narendra Pradhan, conservation expert with WWF Nepal. 

This will be the first time that Nepalese and Indian conservation authorities are matching the tiger populations in their respective tiger reserves. 

The effort will not only help to avoid duplication of tiger counting but will also help in protecting the endangered animal, says Pradhan. 

Both Nepal and India are using the camera-trapping method for monitoring the tiger population, Pradhan said. 

"When we are able to match the tiger images taken by experts of both the countries, it will be easier to confirm the exact number of tigers in all protected areas along the border," he said. 

Another purpose of the study is to see whether Nepal's tigers cross into India in search of prey or vice versa. 

Experts say there should be well protected corridors for the tigers to travel from one park to the other as they breed faster if two or more protected areas are connected. 

Experience show that tigers preserved in isolated areas do not breed in large numbers. 

A new approach in tiger conservation has also been introduced with the 
Terai Arc Landscape (TAL), which covers all the major protected areas of Nepal. 

Under this, 11 protected areas of Nepal and India are combined into a single geographical conservation unit. The TAL spreads over 950km across the states of 
Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand and into southern Nepal.

The Times of India (06-01-2014)