Dehradun, May 6
Plans to estimate tiger population in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal is in jeopardy as the neighbouring tiger range states have so far expressed their inability to make budgetary provisions for the same.
Estimation exercise that has to be conducted under the guidance of Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun holds immense importance as it would put the tiger population in a perspective as tiger knows no boundaries and a census in these countries would reveal the exact tiger population for the entire Indian subcontinent. The current tiger census in the India is under way and expected to be completed by December end. Subsequently, census figures are expected to be revealed by June 2019.
Referring to the importance of tiger census in the SAARC countries, Wildlife Institute of India’s Director Vinod Mathur said conducting tiger census in a perspective would help in getting better tiger estimates for the entire region.
“Tiger knows no boundaries as SAARC countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal share land boundaries with India and tiger movement was natural. A census in a perspective would help in revealing the territorial spread of the striped cat in the subcontinent”, Mathur pointed out.
Also aimed at boosting wildlife conservation ties among the SAARC countries, a tiger census in Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal comes at the initiative of the Union Environment and Forest Ministry. Significantly, the Indian initiative to conduct tiger census in Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal comes at a time when these nations face tiger conservation challenges in the form of habitat losses and poaching.
The biggest advantage of estimating tigers in these countries along with India is that it will ensure that there is no double counting of tigers as the striped cats move across borders.
SAARC countries still have time until December to make necessary budgetary provisions. Sources, however, reveal that they may also be looking at India for support in this regard. — TNS
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