India, Nepal begin tiger census

Forest and nature protection officials from Nepal and India yesterday started their first ever joint survey of tigers.

The survey will take place in a dozen or more wildlife preserves and forests spread across the Terai Arc region that the two South Asian nations share.

The project aims to identify the exact number of Royal Bengal tigers residing in this zone. It will also study the availability of prey to assist with conservation strategies.

The Terai Arc Landscape spreads over 950km across the Indian states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand and into southern Nepal.

The region is estimated to be home to 500 tigers at present - one of the world's densest concentrations of tigers, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

WWF is one of the organisations involved in the survey, which is being led by the governments of India and Nepal.

As part of the survey, officials are installing hundreds of camera traps (remote motion-sensitive cameras) along the wild paths frequented by the tigers, allowing tigers who come into the cameras' range to be identified.

"The same tiger trapped by a camera here on the Nepali side could cross over into India, but that tiger will be trapped by another camera there," Megh Bahadur Pandey, the director general of Nepal's Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, told the BBC.

That means no tiger will be counted twice.

Tens of thousands of Royal Bengal tigers used to roam Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal, but their population currently stands at just a little over 3,000.

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Anika Devi received her Bachelor’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University in 2012. She began freelancing for Business Solutions BD in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor.
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