Spotting of tiger at 2,500m opens up new avenues for research in Nepal

Source:Xinhua Published: 2020/4/15 14:21:13

The movement of the tiger is recorded in the camera trapping set up by the Division Forest Office. (Photo Courtesy of Division Forest Office, Dadeldhura)

Nepal has recorded the movement of a tiger at an elevation of 2,500 meters for the first time in the country's documented history, opening up new avenues for the research, forest authorities confirmed.

A tiger was spotted in Mahabharat range in far-western district Dadheldhura in the camera trapping set up for a month, from March 6 to April 6, by the Division Forest Office.

"This is probably for the first time that a tiger has been spotted in such high altitude in Nepal. It's definitely an achievement. Their movement in the higher altitude is now a subject for more research," Bishnu Prasad Acharya, an officer at the Division Forest Office Dadeldhura, told Xinhua on Tuesday.

Amid the ongoing nationwide lockdown enforced to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the historical finding was disclosed through a press statement on Monday, the first day of Nepali New Year.

Acharya informed that his office has already shared about the finding with the Forest Ministry, the Department of National Parks and the Wildlife Conservation and other concerned stakeholders.

Following complaints from the local people about attacks on their livestock possibly by a tiger, also known as big cat, the division office had installed 32 cameras in the area with the financial and technical support of Terai Arc Landscape Program, World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

"We aimed to examine whether there was a tiger in real or not, and our guess was correct," Acharya said, adding that the camera footages also show the presence of various wildlife like leopards, red fox, Himalayan goral and hyena.

The officer said the highest altitude to record a tiger in the South Asia region was at around 4,000 meters in Bhutan and 3,600 meters in India in the past. Few studies have suggested that the high altitude regions in Nepal, India and Bhutan have the potential to be habitat for the endangered tigers.

WWF Nepal welcomed the finding of a tiger at a new height by a team of citizen scientists. "The finding has opened up new avenues for research and only further highlights the importance of moving beyond protected areas in species conservation," WWF Nepal said on its official Twitter account Tuesday.

The Himalayan country is a home to 235 tigers, according to the Tiger Census conducted in 2018, a 19-percent increase from the last survey of 2013. Tigers are mostly found in the low-lying areas of Nepal in at least 12 Terai districts.

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