Nepal’s tiger population plummets due to poaching
July 2, 2008
Nepal’s tiger population have plummeted due to poaching and a booming trade in their parts, according to a government survey released Tuesday.
Employing camera traps to census Suklaphanta Wildlife Conservation Park in western Nepal, authorities from the National Parks and Conservation Department counted only a handful of tigers and estimate at best the park supports 14 cats, down from 25 during the 2004-2005 survey. At worst the agency estimates the park population at 5 tigers.
Department director Annapurna Das told The Times of India that poachers are better armed than rangers and said that he is understaffed.
Das warned that other parks — including Chitwan National Park in south Nepal and in Bardiya National Park in the west — would likely show similar declines.
Environmental group WWF has attributed declining tiger population to rising demand for tiger products from China. It estimates that there are now fewer than 150 tigers in Nepal, down from 360-370 in 2000.