Wednesday, January 31, 2007

INGOs plan Bengal tiger census in Nepal

Razen Manandhar
Kathmandu, January 30[2007]:

Various international non-government organisations are making plans to carry out a census of Bengal tigers (Panthera tigris) in Nepal’s national parks.
Recent studies have put the number of the wild cats in Nepal at about 350 to 375.
A tiger survey has been initiated in the Bardia National Park with a focus on the Babai river floodplain. A team of seven park personnel will start monitoring from the Chepang area, the gateway of the Babai, according to the last updated draft of the tiger count plan.
“We are currently working on methods to conduct a survey in the national parks to find out how many tigers are living in the habitat, which is constantly under human threat,” Dr Ghanashyam Gurung, the action country representative of WWF Nepal, told The Himalayan Times.

He expressed the hope that the count will most probably begin this season with support from various other institutions and will last for some six months.

“This is the first time the WWF is initiating such a survey. The past five years of the insurgency have had a marked impact on wildlife population in the Babai river floodplain,” he said.

Gurung added that the WWF will also develop a congregated methodology of counting rhinos. He, however, refused to comment on the financial aspect of the surveys.

The current tiger population estimation is based on various sources and surveys carried out in the past three decades.

However, it has been felt that there is insufficient information on the demographic patterns of the tigers such as population structure, spatial distribution, home-range size, movements, social organisations, age-structure, survival rate, extent for breeding etc, according to a recent outline document for tiger conservation.

Currently, three isolated areas in Nepal remain as tiger habitats. Chitwan occupies the largest area where 75 per cent of the tigers are within protected areas. The other two populations are those in Bardia and Shuklaphanta.

A $ 1 million revised action plan to conserve tigers and their habitat is on the final stage of drafting. It will consolidate various programmes on tigers for the coming five years.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Koshi river basin to be managed in integrated way{conservation}

Razen Manandhar

Kathmandu, January 3[2007]:

Seventeen districts under the watershed areas of the Koshi river and its tributaries in the eastern Nepal are being integrated into a long-term conservation programme under the name of Koshi River Basin Management (KBRM).

The programme is being envisaged by the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS) of the
government with technical support from WWF Nepal.

“We will cover all the areas of the eastern Nepal, which are considered important from the point of view of water, wetland, wildlife, vegetation and indigenous culture in one big programme,” said Neera Pradhan, programme manager. This is the first initiative of its kind in the country and the main objective is to explore partnership and formulate a vision for conservation, she said. The districts to be covered are: Sindhupalchowk, Kavre, Dolakha, Ramechhap, Sindhuli, Solukhumbu, Okhaldhunga, Khotang, Udayapur, Sankhuwasabha, Bhojpur, Saptari, Taplejung, Terhathum, Dhankuta, Panchthar, and Sunsari. The programme will bring Sagarmatha National Park, Makalu-Varun National Park,
Kanchanjunga Conservation Area and Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve Area under a single umbrella

Pradhan said the formulation of KBRM as a pilot programme was guided by the National Water Plan, a 25-year plan of the government to manage water for all purposes. A joint team of the government and WWF will soon visit selected areas to be covered by the programme and will prepare a strategic paper within a year, she said.

The importance of river basin management, instead of a project-to-project basis, lies in the inherent
interrelation of water and land resources to form a unit. This approach focuses development and management of water, land and related resources to maximise the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of ecosystem. Executive secretary of the WECS, Ram Krishna Tiwari, said the project will generate necessary information on resources within Koshi river basin to ensure their wise use.

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