World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is alarmed by the dramatic decline of at least 30 percent in the Bengal tiger population of Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve in Nepal, once a refuge that boasted among the highest densities of the endangered species in the Eastern Himalayas. The recent survey of April 2008 showed a population of between 6-14 tigers, down from 20-50 tigers in 2005.
The Government of Nepal made a low-key announcement on July 1 based on the results of a long-term camera trap study conducted in large part by WWF. Officials identified poaching as perhaps the major cause of tigers disappearing from this protected area. Ironically, armed poachers have been photographed by the very equipment set up to capture tiger images.
“The loss of tigers in Suklaphanta is undoubtedly linked to the powerful global mafia that controls illegal wildlife trade,” said Jon Miceler, managing director of WWF’s Eastern Himalayas Program. “The evidence suggests that Nepal’s endangered tigers are increasingly vulnerable to this despicable trade that has already emptied several Indian tiger reserves—clearly, this is symptomatic of the larger tiger crisis in the region. We need a stronger, more sustained response to this issue in order to protect the future of tigers in the wild.”
Suklaphanta shares a porous international border with India, allowing for easy and untraceable transportation of wildlife contraband. Unlike poaching of other species like rhinos where only the horns are removed, virtually no evidence remains at a tiger poaching site because all its parts are in high demand for illegal wildlife trade.
In May, two tiger skins and nearly 70 pounds of tiger bones were seized from the border town of Dhangadi. Just last month, two separate raids recovered tiger bones being smuggled by local middlemen through the reserve.
“With only 4,000 tigers remaining in the wild, every tiger lost to poaching pushes this magnificent animal closer to extinction,” said Dr. Sybille Klenzendorf, director of WWF’s Species Conservation Program. “Tigers cannot be saved in small forest fragments when faced with a threat like illegal wildlife trade—this is a global problem that needs the concerted effort of governments, grassroots organizations and all concerned individuals.”
WWF is committed to working even more closely with local communities and various government bodies in Nepal and India to tackle illegal wildlife trade. Activities ranging from improved community-based anti-poaching operations to entrenched informant networks and better-equipped rapid response teams are being strengthened.
Most poached tigers end up in China and South East Asia where they are used in traditional Chinese medicine, prized as symbols of wealth and served as exotic food.
Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve in Nepal is 117 sq miles, less than twice the size of the District of Columbia, and is home to tigers, rhinos and the world’s largest flock of Bengal florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis) and swamp deer (Cervus duvauceli). It connects with two tiger reserves in India, Pilbhit and Dudhwa.
Camera traps are innovative and reliable monitoring tools, which are cameras with infrared sensors that take a picture when they sense movement in the forest. The Suklaphanta camera traps used two cameras positioned to capture tiger images from both sides of the tiger because its stripes are not symmetrical. Each date, time and location of a photographic capture along with a GPS coordinate is recorded in a log book.
Tiger populations have declined by 95 percent over the past 100 years, and three sub-species have become extinct with a fourth not seen in the wild for over 25 years. There are an estimated 2,000 Bengal tigers remaining in the wild. Bengal tigers mostly inhabit the dry and wet deciduous forests of central and south India, the Terai-Duar grassland and sal forests of the Himalayan foothills of India and Nepal, and the temperate forests of Bhutan. They are also found in Bangladesh, Myanmar and China. The mangroves of the Sunderban (shared between Bangladesh and India) are the only mangrove forests where tigers are found.
Trishna Gurung | EurekAlert!
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology