Tiger conservation efforts are paying off at the landscape level, even where national borders are present across tiger habitats. This good news comes from a report shared by the governments of India and Nepal together with WWF. The announcement came at a meeting of tiger range governments working together and tracking progress towards the goal of doubling the number of wild tigers by 2022, also known as TX2.
The report “Tigers of the Trans-boundary Terai Arc Landscape” details the status of wild tigers and their prey in the transboundary portion of the Terai Arc Landscape, stretching across the borders of India and Nepal. In a survey from November 2012 through June 2013, camera traps tracked 239 individual adult tigers across an area of more than 2,000 square miles.
The camera trap images confirmed that wild tigers use three forested wildlife corridors that provide vital links between key protected areas across both sides of the international border. Moreover, images of individual tigers were matched from Nepal’s Chitwan National Park and the adjacent Valmiki Tiger Reserve in India, as well as Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve in Nepal and the adjacent Pilibhit Tiger Reserve in India. Tigers don’t recognize lines across a map and this is why WWF’s field work is based on landscape level conservation.
The study was conducted by the governments of both countries in partnership with its conservation and development partners, including WWF India, WWF Nepal, the National Trust for Nature Conservation and local communities.
“We could not have asked for a better forum to share the results of this transboundary landscape effort because it shows that we must think and act beyond just islands of protected areas for tigers to truly thrive and have the space to double in number,” said Dr. Barney Long, director, WWF’s Species Conservation Program. “The Terai Arc is perhaps the best example we have that bold, landscape level conservation can result in dramatic recoveries for wild tigers. And WWF remains absolutely committed to helping governments reach Tx2.”
The 2nd Stocktaking Conference of The Global Tiger Recovery Program was hosted by Bangladesh and brought together brought together 140 tiger experts from over 20 countries. Its resulting Dhaka Recommendations set the priorities for the next two years with a focus on professionalizing and investing in frontline staff, national tiger monitoring and assessment in all tiger habitats by 2016, improved transboundary collaboration and expanded capacity to tackle human-tiger conflict.