MAHENDRANAGAR, Feb 13: The count of tiger population has started in Shuklaphanta National Park (SNP) of Kanchanpur district through 'camera trapping' method. According to Gopal Bahadur Ghimire, chief conservation officer and information officer of SNP, a two-day training was held before the officially launch of the tiger census in the national park. He informed that the census will be taken in Shuklaphanta-Laljhadi-Jogbudha corridor which is considered as the buffer zone.
A total of 520 cameras will be installed in the national park area for counting the number of tigers. Altogether 11 groups of 90 officials will be mobilized in different areas for the counting, informed acting chief of SNP Ghimire. He further said that the census will be complete in 22 days but it will take some time for them to study the pictures captured by the cameras. According to Ghimire, the preliminary results will be announced in early April.
"As the stripes of tiger do not match with each other, the census will be taken on the basis of the pictures," said Ghimire.
Tigers will be counted in an area of 5,500 sq km. Until 1960, tiger census used to be taken on the basis of their claws. As per the tiger census of 2009, there were altogether 10 tigers in SNP which jumped to 17 in 2013.
As stated by Anil Prasain, chief of National Nature Conservation Fund (NNCF), Kanchanpur, the co-operation of locals and government has helped to increase the number of tigers. He further informed that the properly managed habitat and food for tigers in Shuklaphanta has also been the reason for the rise in their population. NNCF, Word Wildlife Fund (WWF), Green Forest Program among others have provided technical and financial support for the census.
In 2010, speaking at an international conference organized in Saint Petersberg, Russia, Gopal Prasad Bhattarai, the then deputy director of Department of National Parks had announced to double the number of tigers by 2022. He had also announced to make efforts to eradicate poaching and smuggling of tigers.
The total number of tigers in Nepal recorded in 2009 was 121. The tiger census of 2013 showed a significant increase in the number of tigers which leapfrogged to 198 in just two years. The number of tigers is expected to increase in the coming days as the number of cubs has also increased in SNP.