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Building a tiger stronghold in Parsa National Park (ZSL)

Project name:  Building a tiger stronghold in Parsa National Park

Location:  Parsa National Park (PNP)

Goal:  This Zoological Society of London project will enable PNP management to effectively monitor and protect tigers within one of the most important tiger recovery sites in Nepal.

Objective 1: Monitoring of the status of tigers and their prey in the extension zone of Parsa National Park through systematic camera trapping and transect surveys as part of the national tiger census.

Objective 2: Reduce poaching threats to tigers by strengthening anti-poaching measures in PNP through refresher SMART training, supporting patrolling and trialling android-based SMART patrolling.

Background:

Since work on this project began, the Parsa Wildlife Reserve increased in size by 127 km2 incorporating part of the Bara Forest and was upgraded to a National Park receiving the full protection status of the adjacent Chitwan National Park.  

During the first year of this project, when the Bara Forest was separate from the reserve, the focus was on establishing two Community Based Antipoaching Units (CBAPU) in Community Forest to reduce encroachment, poaching of tigers and prey and other illegal activities.   Bara represented excellent tiger habitat with a good mix of old growth forest and riverine grasslands, however, protection was lacking in the Bara forest, creating an easy target for tiger poachers compared to the heavily protected Chitwan National Park. Connectivity between these areas remains good so far, and with proper management, Parsa-Bara could support an additional 30-40 tigers.

During the following year, the focus of this project has moved to building capacity within the Nepal Army and the National Park staff.  In 2016-17,  30 frontline Nepal Army and National Park staff were trained in SMART patrolling techniques and equipment was provided to 82 staff deployed in three newly constructed guard posts in the Bara extension area.   4,514 SMART patrols were conducted during the year covering over 35,000km  and which resulted in a decrease in human observation by 50% within extension area.

Camera trapping and line transect surveys during 2016- 2017 were conducted in accordance with the National Tiger and Prey Base Monitoring Protocol and the first tiger cubs in almost a decade were recorded.  In addition, 2.13 prey animals per km were recorded with Chital being recorded most frequently.

Reports will be published below as they become available.