Bilateral meetings between India and Nepal have resulted in positive outcomes for wildlife conservation," said Dr S. P. Yadav, Deputy Inspector General of the Government of India's National Tiger Conservation Authority. "Our governments need to continue strengthening trans-boundary ties for protecting tigers and enabling their free movement between India and Nepal," he added.
Government-led teams will work with partners, including WWF Nepal, from January to March 2013. On the Indian side, the field work for the survey had begun in November 2012. Camera trap technologies, line transect and occupancy surveys will be used to estimate tiger populations, prey abundance and density. India and Nepal will produce a joint status report on the results of the survey.
"This shared conservation landscape gives our governments common ground to work together to save wild tigers, which is a source of pride for us all," said Mr. Bishwo Nath Oli, the Nepal delegation head and Joint Secretary of the Government of Nepal's Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation. "The survey results will play an important role in shaping strategies to get us to our ultimate goal of Tx2, doubling the number of wild tigers, which was set during the historic Tiger summit in 2010."
At present, there are an estimated 500 tigers in the Terai Arc Landscape, which also has one of the highest densities of tigers in the world. Stretching 600 miles across the common borders of Nepal and India, the landscape allows tigers to disperse, conserving their natural behaviour, ecology, and genetic diversity. It has become a global priority for tiger conservation since its inception more than a decade ago.
"WWF is proud to be a partner in this landmark survey and we remain committed to saving wild tigers in the Terai, something we have been actively involved in since our very first tiger conservation project with the Government of Nepal in the early 1970s," stated Mr. Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF Nepal. "Saving tigers requires collaborative actions to curb wildlife crime together with managing tiger habitat which is a primary challenge in the landscape."
The consultative meeting agreed on an eleven-point resolution that stressed on, amongst others, strengthening trans-boundary efforts in curbing poaching and illegal trade of wildlife and forest products, preparing tiger recovery plans for selected trans-boundary sites, pursuing proactive measures to mitigate human-wildlife conflict, promoting smart infrastructure development that does not adversely affect key wildlife habitat, and promoting exchange visits to learn best practices in community participation in conservation. A committee at the central and field levels will be established and mobilized to help action the agreed resolution agendas.
Mr. Ravi Singh, CEO and Secretary General, WWF-India said, "The Terai Arc joint survey is an excellent opportunity for India and Nepal to strengthen their trans-boundary cooperation. WWF hopes that the results of this survey will lead to a better understanding of the status of tigers in the Terai and stronger on-the-ground conservation actions that will ensure long term survival of tigers in the and other wildlife in this area. WWF thanks and acknowledges the efforts and actions of the governments and their agencies including the Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar Forest Departments in this regard."
WWF is the world's leading conservation organization, working in 100 countries for nearly half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat climate change.
WWF has been active in Nepal since the 1960s. It works through a landscape level approach in conservation by engaging the government, conservation agencies and local communities to save the country's unique and irreplaceable biodiversity. Learn more at www.wwfnepal.org
WWF-India is one of the largest conservation organisations engaged in wildlife and nature conservation in the country. It has an experience of over four decades in the field and has made its presence felt through a sustained effort not only towards nature and wildlife conservation, but by sensitising people by creating awareness through capacity building and enviro-legal activism. Learn more at www.wwfindia.org
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