Nepal expands critical tiger habitat

The Government of Nepal announced today an expansion of Bardia National Park in the Terai Arc Landscape by 900 sq km, which will increase critical habitat for tigers.

WWF welcomes the announcement, which was made at the inaugural session of the Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal also stated that the government would establish a National Tiger Conservation Authority as well as a Wildlife Crime Control Committee saying, “The solutions will be area specific, but the future of conservation will depend upon how we act now and how we make tiger conservation and overall biodiversity much more valuable to the livelihoods of local communities.”

“This is indeed a great conservation initiative, which will certainly help in curbing illegal wildlife trade and poaching in Nepal,” said Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF Nepal. “We are confident that by embracing innovative conservation strategies Nepal will succeed in doubling its number of endangered tigers.”

Earlier this year the first ever nation-wide estimate of the tiger population revealed the presence of 121 adult tigers in the wild within four protected areas of Nepal. In order to ensure that these tiger numbers remain stable and start to increase, WWF and its partners called on the government to increase anti-poaching activities and habitat protection.

“In making these commitments at a global forum before the 12 other tiger range countries, the Government of Nepal has set an important precedent for others to follow,” said Mike Baltzer, Leader of WWF’s Tiger Initiative. “The next three days of the workshop are vital as countries and tiger experts band together to create a game-changing plan to save tigers in the wild.”

The Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop is the first in a series of political negotiation meetings occurring throughout the year and leading up to a final Heads of State Tiger Summit in September 2010, which is the Year of the Tiger.

The workshop is hosted by the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Government of Nepal, co-organized and co-sponsored by the CITES Secretariat, Global Tiger Forum, Global Tiger Initiative, Save The Tiger Fund, World Bank.

Source:WWF

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Bardiya National Park to be doubled in size

The government is preparing to expand the area of Bardiya National Park (BNP) to double its present size by annexing 898 sq. km of forest area along the east-west highway in Dang, Nagarik Daily reported.

The area of the National Park at present is 968 sq. km.

bardia_national_park

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal will officially announce the expansion of BNP at the inaugural function of Global Tiger Workshop, slated to start from Tuesday in Kathmandu.

The expansion of the National Park is vital for the conservation of Tigers as the area proposed to be annexed is considered an important area for habitat and food for tigers, according to wildlife experts. BNP is home to many important wildlife inlcuding the rare one-horned Rhino, Tigers and elephants.

Erstwhile Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala had unveiled plans to expand BNP as a ‘gift to the earth’ in 2000. However, the plan had not materialised due to armed conflict in the country.

Of the area to be annexed 549 sq. km will be forest area, while 345 sq. km will be buffer zone. Some 50 additional staff including army personnel for security will be required for the upkeeping of the additional area. It will also include 13 VDCs of Dang district.

The santuary was established in 1976 with the name ‘Karnali Wildlife Conservation’. It was renamed as ‘Bardiya Wildlife Conservation’ in 1982 and converted to a National Park in 1998.

Some 1600 families were displaced from an important Rhino habitat Babai valley while expanding the the National Park.

nepalnews.com