Protecting Wild Tigers in Nepal

Wild tiger in Nepal. Creative Commons: Koshy Koshy, 2009.

World Wildlife Fund and LDF are working to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022. Across the Terai Arc Landscape of Nepal, WWF is working with the government and local communities to strengthen anti-poaching patrols, protect core areas for tiger breeding, continuously monitor tiger populations, and restore critical corridors to ensure tigers have the freedom to roam.

LDF is helping to restore populations of tigers, elephants, rhinos and other wildlife in the forests and grasslands of the Terai Arc Landscape in southern Nepal. Through an ongoing six-year partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), LDF is protecting wildlife from poaching, improving area parks, and engaging local communities in conservation. As a result of these and other efforts, Nepal’s tiger population increased by 63 percent between 2009 and 2013. This is a significant victory, as tiger populations globally are dangerously close to extinction. LDF has been a critical partner in WWF’s ambitious global initiative to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022, the next Chinese Year of the Tiger.

Like all facets of life in Nepal, this work was impacted by the devastating earthquake that hit the country in April 2015, killing some 9,000 people. WWF contributed directly to immediate rescue, aid, and relief work on the ground and has continued to advocate for and work towards green recovery and reconstruction. WWF is helping to ensure that environmental risks are addressed as the recovery process continues.

While the earthquake created new challenges, WWF and LDF did not waver in their commitment to the wildlife and communities of the Terai Arc. In the midst of difficult conditions, the WWF-LDF partnership has had tremendous success. Shortly after the earthquake, WWF and the government of Nepal announced a 21% increase in the country’s rhino population—a direct result of improved protection made possible by WWF, the government and partners like LDF.

With the support of LDF, WWF has worked with the government to upgrade anti-poaching surveillance, introduce new technology, train more than 560 rangers, create two dozen community-based patrols, and improve 800 acres of forest and grassland habitat to support growing tiger populations. WWF has also trained communities living near parks in methods to prevent conflict with tigers and launched endowment funds to reimburse families that lose livestock or property to wildlife.

The work underway in the Terai Arc is not only benefitting wildlife and people across this rich landscape, but also creating a model of success that can be adapted to recover tigers in other landscapes.

Major project accomplishments to date include:

  • 562 park and protection staff trained in the use of SMART to collect key data on poaching and other illegal activities.
  • Real-time SMART technology has been rolled out to 15 guard posts in Bardia and Suklaphanta, and is now in use in 70 guard posts in the protected areas of the Terai.
  • 22 Community Based Anti-Poaching Operations (CBAPOs) formed to monitor and combat poaching in community forests, and 29 rapid response squads have been trained and mobilized to respond to human-wildlife conflict events.
  • 799 acres of grassland have been managed in critical tiger habitat.
  • 5 guard posts constructed and 14 guard posts maintained to secure the national parks and wildlife reserves in the Terai, and to prevent poaching and illegal activities.
  • 27 miles of fireline constructed and 87 miles of fireline maintained in Banke, Bardia, Chitwan and Suklaphanta to enhance mobility within protected areas and to effectively address poaching and illegal activity.
  • Human tiger conflict mitigation was supported through the construction of predator resistant pens for 108 households in community forests near Bardia. Two watch towers were constructed in buffer zone community forests adjacent to Chitwan to provide elevated look-out points for the Nepal army and CBAPO members to monitor wildlife movement.
  • Human-wildlife conflict relief endowment funds were established in one buffer zone near Bardia and two buffer zones near Chitwan. The funds will provide scholarships for human-tiger conflict affected families. These endowment funds will also provide critical aid for local people adversely impacted by tiger encounters.
  • The annual tiger survey was conducted from Banke National Park west to Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve, and is still being finalized. The final tiger monitoring report is expected to be completed by the end of June 2016.

Through collaborative partnerships, we support innovative projects that protect vulnerable wildlife from extinction, while restoring balance to threatened ecosystems and communities. Our work is divided into six main program areas – Wildlands Conservation, Oceans Conservation, Climate Change, Indigenous Rights, Transforming California, and Innovative Solutions.

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