NAWALPUR, Dec 1: Nine hundred cameras and 100 enumerators are set to be mobilized in the National Tiger Survey that kicks off from December 5.
The program will be inaugurated and launched from the Chitwan National Park (CNP) at Sauraha. It is said 900 cameras and 100 enumerators will be pressed into service for conducting the survey in the Chitwan-Parsa complex.
CNP's Chief Conservation Officer Haribhadra Acharya said the tiger census would be conducted throughout the country by dividing the national parks providing habitat for tigers into three complexes. Five parks across the country currently serve as habitats for this endangered animal.
The census will cover Chitwan, Bardiya, Parsa, Shuklaphanta and Banke National Parks and the adjoining forests.
According to Acharya, this season is considered a good time for tiger census as they are more visible in winter than in other seasons. For the census, the parks will be divided into five complexes: Chitwan and Parsa (first complex), Banke and Bardiya (second) and Shuklaphanta and nearby Laljhandai area (third).
The event is to formally begin on the witnesses of Minister for Forest and Environment Ram Sahay Prasad Yadav and other senior government officials.
As Acharya said, they target to complete the tiger counting by mid-January, 2022 and the ‘capture and recapture’ model will be employed for it.
A pair of cameras will be fixed each at a distance of four kilometers for at least two weeks to track the animal.
According to Acharya, Parsa National Park and CNP fall in the first complex and the survey will be conducted in this complex in 20 days. He said camera trapping would be used for counting the tigers up to Sarlahi as well since tigers have been found in the national forest areas outside of the national park and its buffer zone.
Acharya shared that two cameras would be placed at a vantage point in course of the tiger survey so as to ensure the counting. The distance between a pair of cameras will be from eight to 16 meters and both cameras will simultaneously capture the image of the same tiger.
Similarly, the distance between a pair of cameras with the next pair will be one kilometer to two kilometers. The cameras will be placed at a height of 45 to 60 centimeters from the ground.
Acharya said they would start counting the prey population after the results of the tiger survey are published.
The previous 2018 tiger census put the population of adult tigers at 235. The highest number (93) was counted in the CNP followed by 87 in Bardiya, 21 in Banke, 18 in Parsa and 16 in Shuklaphanta. This figure is expected to rise over the course of time.
The 2010 Global Conference participated by 13 countries (where tigers are found) held in St Petersburg, Russia, had pledged to double the population of tigers by 2022 and Nepal also vowed to increase its number from 121 to 250.
Tiger conservationists are hopeful that Nepal will live up to its promise to double the tigers’ population by the given time. Nepal conducts the tiger census every four years.