12 nations seek joint agenda on tiger conservation

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12 nations seek joint agenda on tiger conservation

Shyam Bhatta

KATHMANDU, July 20: Countries with habitats for tiger are coming together to formulate a common agenda for conservation of the big cat at a time when its numbers are dwindling globally.

Nepal, India, China, Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar, Bhutan, Russia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Mongolia and Malaysia are coming together in Kathmandu to discuss the three main agenda items of preserving tiger habitat, banning international trade in tiger parts and conserving other animals that tigers feed on, through identification of areas for tiger conservation, management officer of the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Department Shivaraj Bhatta disclosed.

National and international non-government organizations working on tiger conservation and donor agencies will also participate in a meeting of the Global Tiger Forum to be held in Kathmandu on October 26 and a subsequent four-day Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop.

A ministerial meeting of these 12 countries scheduled for 2010 will endorse the agenda discussed during the meetings and workshop.

Monitoring is considered the best way for conserving the beast whose carcass is never found after it is killed. Deputy director of the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Department Megh Bahadur Pandey sees poaching as the main challenge for tiger conservation in Nepal. Conservationists in Nepal have been on high alert ever since the Sariska National Park in Rajasthan, India announced that it lost all its tigers two years ago.

The tiger is considered to be under threat even in Nepal after counting done in the Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve two years ago showed that the population of the animal went down by around 50 percent that year. Camera trapping had tracked 27 tigers in 2006 but it was just 15 in 2007.

The government of India has become serious about tiger conservation and its prime minister chairs the Tiger Conservation Project. The Indian union budget this year raised the budget allocated for the project to Indian Rs 1.84 billion from the previous year´s 720 million, but Nepali budget has yet to address the issue.



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