As part of the IUCN/KfW funded Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme, Himalayan Nature, with the support of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), has implemented the Supporting Trans-boundary Tiger Recovery in India and Nepal project in collaboration with the National Trust for Nature Conservation and the Government of Nepal. The study sites under Himalayan Nature in Nepal include Bardia National Park (BNP), Banke National Park (BaNP), Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve (SWR) and buffer zones of all three protected areas.
With less than 3500 tigers left in the wild (2010 status), it is vital to preserve and restore remaining habitat to ensure survival of this endangered species. This three year project “aims to secure the Terai Arc Landscape to increase tiger populations through improved management and monitoring of trans-boundary tiger sites” in all study locations. Areas of focus include improving law enforcement, sustainable development for local communities and enhancing biological monitoring.
Himalayan Nature is involved in many development and conservation awareness activities and has taken the lead on community based projects. Major activities consist of awareness sessions on human-tiger conflict and tiger conservation, determination of extent of livestock grazing, establishment of community based livestock insurance scheme, promotion of alternative livelihoods (improved-breed rearing, homestay operations, nature guide training, etc.), as well as training for enhancement of skills such as driving, plumbing, electronic repairs and construction.
Initial visits and consultation with local communities across BNP, BaNP and SWR found that there was a demand for ecotourism related alternative livelihood options such as nature guide, homestay operation and nature driving. Taking this into consideration, Himalayan Nature conducted a basic nature guide training for a total of 43 community members from the three project sites. Similarly, there were 36 participants representing the three PAs for a homestay training led by Himalayan Nature; and a total of 40 local community members across all three sites participated in driving training. These are some of the ways in which Himalayan Nature is contributing to community welfare and promoting nature and tiger conservation through this project.
The number of global wild tigers is on the rise for the first time after a 97% decline over the last century. With an increase in Nepal’s wild tigers, from 121 in 2010 to 198 in 2014, we are well on our way to meeting the 2010 St. Petersburg Tiger Summit goal to double wild tiger populations (6000+) by 2022. This project will help towards achieving this goal while improving participation and sustainable development of local communities.