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KATHMANDU: Hundreds of conservationists have begun a major survey of the number of endangered Royal Bengal tigers living in a vast forest region bordering Nepal and India, officials said yesterday.
Wildlife experts are monitoring images from hundreds of cameras set up in protected areas of the Tarai Arc Landscape, a mainly forested area which stretches for some 950km, in the four-month survey.
“We are conducting a survey on the tiger’s occupancy and behaviour. The results will help us identify the animal’s paths and prey,” said Megh Bahadur Pandey, Director general of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.
“In 2011 and before that, we conducted surveys of tigers in some national parks but this is the first nationwide survey in five years,” he said, adding that a parallel survey was being conducted in India.
“The census results will enrich our understanding. If we find that the number has increased, then we will know the reasons. In case the population is on decline, the survey will help us develop effective strategies,” he said.
Ghanashyam Gurung, Conservation Programme Director for Nepal at WWF, said it was the first time that officials from Nepal and India had worked together to get a full picture.
“India and Nepal used to conduct surveys without consulting each other, but this census will provide us with the data from both sides,” he said.