NTNC has entered into an agreement with the Zoological Society of London for implementing the project titled: "Tigers in Nepal: Preparing for the Impacts of Climate Change". The project agreement signed by NTNC's Member Secretary Mr Yajna Nath Dahal and ZSL Nepal's Country Representative Dr Hem Sagar Baral on February 28, 2020 is up for implementation for one year, with prospect for future extension.
Aimed at strengthening tiger conservation initiatives across the western Terai landscape of Nepal, project implementation will focus around the northern buffer zone of Shuklaphanta National Park (ShNP). It will include the bottleneck spanning 4 km, which is part of the national park and from where the Mahendra highway also passes, serving as an important tiger habitat connectivity, also indicating shifting tiger movements northwards, to the Siwalik and hilly areas.
Project activities will be primarily conducted in the communities of Bedkot, Sundevi and Trishakti buffer zone user committees (BZUC), living in close proximity to the park, where disadvantaged communities reside. Some 6500 poor and climate vulnerable households of the three BZUCs residing within 1000 meters of the national park boundary will directly benefit from the project.
The project agreement covers interventions mainly related to human-wildlife conflict mitigation measures through fencing and predator-proof corals; strengthening livelihood and income generation alternatives for local communities through organic farming and green skill-based enterprises development; promotion of nature-based tourism opportunities; capacity and community institutional building. These are mainly targeted to reduce threats to tigers while enabling peripheral forest-dependent community's responsibility for conservation in the context of changing climate impacts.
"The project has been developed keeping in mind the important wildlife biodiversity that Shuklaphanta National Park possesses, whilst keeping in mind the area's increasing anthropogenic and environmental vulnerability, especially to highly threatened wildlife and keystone species like tigers. In response it targets to strengthen the climate resilience and capacity of poor and high-risk park communities, who directly impact the area's conservation success," shares NTNC's Member Secretary Mr Dahal.
According to the most recent national tiger survey, the park's (ShNP) tiger population has seen an increase from eight tigers in 2009 to 16 tiger in 2018, bearing the third highest tiger density per square kilometer in Nepal after Chitwan and Bardia national parks.