Nepalese Tigers… what next?

This site is under (re)construction.
This may take a couple of weeks. Text is definitely not ‘final”.

Nepal is the first ‘Tiger Country’ in the world to reach ‘Double the tiger’ number (2xT).

Nepal is the first ‘Tiger Country’ in the world to reach ‘Double the tiger’ number (2xT).

Congratulations to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) and the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC).

Important pillars of this success are programs such as ‘community-based wildlife conservation’ (important ‘intelligence’ about poachers can be collected ‘from inside’) and enforcement in the national parks through the deployment of the army. Result: ‘zero poaching’.

PhD’s at Dutch Universities

The Himalayan Tiger Foundation has supported the ‘2xT program’ from 2014 to the present situation by making it more ‘evidence-based’.

Young and ambitious Nepalese conservation officers have done tiger research and obtained their PhD’s at Dutch Universities. This has strengthened NTNC’s ability to provide wildlife conservation with a better scientific basis.

The Tiger Number doubled.

The number of Tigers in Bardiya National Park (BNP) in the Terai, increased from approximately 28 to 85 sexually mature animals between 2008 and 2021 (last census), a tripling. 2xT has more than been achieved, but the question is whether this will ensure the future of the tiger population in BNP?

In order to sustainably manage the tiger population in BNP, a number of important questions still need to be answered:

Human Wildlife Conflict
With the growth in the number of tigers – and wild elephants – the number of fatalities is also increasing. This affects public support for wildlife management. How to reverse this?

Prey base tiger population
Are there enough prey animals to continue feeding the growing tiger population? Crucial is the number of Chitals, the main prey animal. Is there enough suitable grass to maintain the deer population?

Economic development
Two major rivers supply BNP with water. But the water level in these rivers is changing because water is also used for large-scale irrigation, hydropower and drinking water. Does this lead to a lower groundwater level in BNP and does this explain why grasslands are slowly disappearing?

– Climate change
Bardiya National Park is located in the Terai. This part of the world is warming up very quickly. In Bardiya, people, livestock and wildlife are increasingly suffering from heat stress. Will BNP remain suitable as a tiger reserve in the future? 

Translation from research to management
Research funded by the Himalayan Tiger Foundation shows that grazing pressure in BNP is insufficient. There are not enough deer to be able to maintain the grazing lawns by grazing themselves. The reintroduction of other grazers (Gaur, Arna) may offer perspective. A complex task.
Mowing and the use of fertilizer can also contribute to good grassland. For this, a mowing regime must be developed.
If BNP warms further, is expansion to the cooler north towards the mountains an option?

NWO Grant
The tiger research initiated by HTF in Bardiya received a huge boost in 2021 through an extensive NWO grant for the research programme “Save the Tiger! Save the Grasslands! Save the Water!” (STSGSW).
The ongoing research initiated and funded by HTF is included in this programme. HTF is co-funder of STSGSW and closely involved in the management and affairs in Nepal.