KATHMANDU/CHITWAN, July 27: The tiger census conducted this year has put the total number of adult tigers in Nepal at 121.
Making public the report of the census carried out from November 19, 2008, to March 7, 2009, in 14 districts on Monday, the government said the tiger population slightly declined from 2003 when their number was 123. Similarly, the number of snow leopards has been estimated to have declined in between 300 and 400, while previously their number was estimated to be in between 400 and 500.
The counting of tigers was done using ´capture´ and ´recapture´ method that uses snaps taken by automatic cameras placed at certain places. The stripes of tigers, which never match with another tiger, caught in the camera are then analyzed to avoid repetition in counting.
Chitwan has 91, Bardiya 18, Shuklafanta eight and Parsa four tigers according to the census which found tigers even outside conservation areas in some districts.
The dwindling number of tigers and snow leopards should be taken with due gravity, says Deputy Director General of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Megh Bahadur Pandey. Conservationists have been on a high alert ever since the Sariska National Park in Rajasthan, India, announced that it lost all its tigers two years ago.
The census carried out using employees of the government, the department, National Nature Conservation Trust and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Nepal and 300 automatic cameras cost around US $360,000 (around Rs 26.1 million).
The counting of snow leopards was done in the mountainous region from Ganesh Himal to Rolwaling, Sagarmatha, Makalu Varun and Kanchanjungha with the financial help from WWF America, England and Finland.